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Last week we had our Go Red for Women morning tea. Along with the Lemon Raspberry slice we posted earlier, we also decided to make this amazing Salted Choc Caramel slice which I found on The Merrymaker Sisters site.

Ingredients

For the base

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tbs raw cacao
  • 1 tbs 100% maple syrup

For the caramel filling

  • 1 1/2 cups dates
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt

For the choc topping

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbs raw cacao
  • 1 tbs 100% maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt

Method

For the base - Line a loaf or small slice tin with baking paper. Place all the base ingredients into a food processor. Whiz until well combined, it will be a little sticky and crumbly. Press the mix into the prepared tin, ensure it is pressed evenly. Place the tin in the freezer.

For the caramel filling - Using the food processor (don't worry about washing it) place all caramel filling ingredients and whiz until completely smooth (it will take around five minutes). Pour this mixture over the top of the base and return to the freezer.

For the choc topping - Using the food processor (again, don't worry about washing it) add the raw cacao, coconut oil and maple syrup, whiz until completely smooth. Pour the choc topping over the caramel filling, shake the tin slightly to even it out. Sprinkle with Himalayan pink salt if you like things extra salty. Return to freezer for about 1 hour or until completely set. Once set, cut into slices & enjoy! 

This slice is amazing and you wouldn't guess the ingredients by tasting it, so naughty but still so good - you need to make this. This slice should be stored in the freezer.

Last week we shared our Lemon and Raspberry slice recipe which I will be making tomorrow to serve at our Go Red for Women morning tea on Thursday, 11 June along side this week's recipe for Beetroot & Coconut Cubes from Everyday Gourmet

The same as last week, this recipe is a healthy but tasty treat which is easy to make, so no stress - that makes my heart happy.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups desiccated coconut
  • 200mls coconut oil, gently melted and cooled
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tsp beetroot juice (I just my juicer, but you could use 2 tsp beetroot powder with 2 tsp water)

Method

Place coconut into a large bowl, mix in the egg whites, coconut oil, vanilla and honey until well combined. Divide the mixture evenly betweely two bowls. Add the beetroot juice to one bowl and mix until the colour is evenly distributed.

Line a tin with baking paper. Put the white mixture in the tin and spread evenly, pressing down. Place the pink mixture on top and press down. Place in the fridge to set. Leave for several hours to set and then cut inot bite sized pieces. 

I look forward to making and then tasting this yummy treats on Thursday, will let you know how they go!

Today we want to help spread the awareness of heart disease in Australian women. Not only will we tell you the risk factors but also some tips on keeping your heart healthy. 

Many people think breast cancer is the biggest killer of women in Australia but the Heart Foundation tells us that it's not. Heart disease kills three times as more, taking a life every hour of every day. You don't have to be old, you don't have to be overweight and your risk increases after menopause.

Thankfully heart disease is largely preventable.

Here is what you need to know;

Heart disease risk factors include;

  • being overweight
  • being physically inactive
  • smoking
  • having a family history of heart disease

Clinical heart disease risk factors include;

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol

Almost 30% of Australian women have one or more of these yet many don't know they are risk factors that must be managed. 

Other considerations include;

  • Menopause
  • Oral contraceptives

If you have any concern visit your GP for a heart health check - don't let having a heart attack be your first sign of heart disease.

Here we tell you ways to help keep your heart healthy.

The Heart Foundation's top ten tips are;

  1. Quit smoking - kicking the habit is the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease. If you smoke, you are at least twice as likely to have a heart attack and three times as likely to have a stroke.
  2. Be active for 30 mins a day - most people don't realise that the simple act of walking for 30 mins a day can reduce your risk of heart disease by as much as half!
  3. Choose healthy fats
  4. Go for two and five - eat five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day
  5. Know your numbers - whatever your age, find out your blood pressure, cholesterol level and wait circumference and check these regularly.
  6. Talk about it - speak with your doctor about your heart disease risk factors. If you have a family history of heart disease or you're over 45 (35 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders), ask your GP for a heart health check.
  7. Eat two to three serves of oily fish every week. You can use fish oil capsules and omega-3 enriched foods and drinks to supplement your intake of omega-3 fats.
  8. Reduce your salt - most of us are eating too much salt. Aim for less than six grams a day to reduce or control your blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
  9. Move More, Sit Less - stand up taking and making phone calls, during meetings on public transport and during commerical breaks when you are watching TV.
  10. Drink mainly water - nothing quenches your thirst like water and it has no calories. If you drink alcohol have no more than two standard drinks a day and try to have at least three alcohol free days per week.

Thursday, 11 June is Go Red for Women, the Australian Heart Foundation's annual fundraiser to support life-saving research, education and awareness for women's heart health.

If you wish to participate simply host a Go Red event such as a morning tea with friends or co-workers. If using social media, why not take a selfie of yourself dressed in red #WeWillBeRed and share with friends, this may help others get involved and help raise awareness of how important this issue is.

This week I am sharing a no-bake Lemon and Raspberry slice recipe from Whole Food Simply. I am making this next week for our #WeWillBeRed morning tea.

Go Red for Women is a Heart Foundation campaign to create awareness and raise funds to fight Heart Disease in Women. I decided to make a couple of treats to suit the red theme and also show you morning tea treats can be tasty as well as being healthy.

Ingredients

the base

  • 2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • zest and juice one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or rice malt syrup)
  • pinch of salt

the top

  • 2 cups raw cashews (depending on your food processor you may want to soak for 2 hours prior)
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons honey (or rice malt syrup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon concentrated natural vanilla extra 
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup raspberries

Method

Line a loaf tin with baking paper over-hanging the sides (she used 19.5cm x 9.5cm).

Place the base ingredients into your food processor and blend at a high speed until the mixture is completely broken down and sticking together.

Press the mixture firmly into the base of your loaf tin and place in the fridge to set.

To make the top of your slice place the cashews, lemon, honey, salt and vanilla into your processor and blend at high speed. Push mixture back onto the blades and pulse, repeating this process a couple of times. Add the oil and again blend a high speed. You want to get the mixture as smooth as possible.

Once you are happy with the consistency gently mix through the raspberries and spoon the mixture over your base. Cover with baking paper and use your hands to smooth over the top.

Place in the freezer for several hours to set. Store and serve from freezer.

So I look forward to making this next week and updating with photos then. 

Thursday, 11 June 2015 I will be participating in a Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute campaign called On your Feet Australia. This is to get Australian's on their feet and taking a stand for better health along with raising funds for vital medical research into Heart Disease and Diabetes.

A large part of my day will include me being in the office, which I am usually sitting behind a desk so I was happy to discover this stand up desk hack

There are plenty of fancy and I am guessing more ergonomic stand up desks out there but this cheap IKEA desk will certainly do the job for now.

I will be updating my progress on June 11 via Twitter and have had a few donations pledged which will give me motivation when I start to feel a little lazy!

On your feet Australia! 

 

What is it? Where does it come from? Am I getting enough? Are some of the common questions asked when referring to vitamin D. Today I will share with you these anwers and some not so common research about vitamin D deficiency and it's link to your heart health.

Dietitians Association of Australia tells us vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that plays an important role in:-

  • Maintaining appropriate levels of calcium in the blood and depositing calcium into the bones
  • Assisting phosphorus absorption (important for bone health)
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Healthy skin
  • Muscle strength
  • Nerve functions

Did you know our bodies can produce vitamin D!! To get enough sunlight for your body to make vitamin D, your hands, face and arms (or equivalent area of skin) needs to be exposed to sunlight for about five to fifteen minutes, four to six times a week in Summer. To see how much sun is enough for you, depending on your location, visit the Cancer Council. However elderly people and people with darker skin need more exposure to the sun - about fifteen minutes, five to six times a week in Summer. 

Incredibly people under the age of 50 can actually produce and store approximately six month's worth of vitamin D, which can be used in the Winter months when sun exposure is decreased. Unfortunately people over 50 are not as efficient in absorbing vitamin D from the sun, so it is important for the over 50s to consider dietary sources of vitamin D and to have regular check ups with their GP to see if a supplement is required. 

In Australia we have to remember the need to juggle getting enough sunlight to produce vitamin D but not too much as to increase our risk of skin cancer. 

The dietary sources for vitamin D mentioned earlier include:-

  • Eggs
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon, herring and mackerel
  • Vitamin D mushrooms (mushrooms that have been exposed to UV rays during the growing process)
  • Vitamin D fortified margarines (fortification is mandatory in Australia for table margarines)
  • Vitamin D fortified milk proudcts, including yoghurt and cheese (fortification is mandatory in Australia for milk products)

Better Health Channel Victoria mentions the risk of low vitamin D levels include:-

  • Bone and muscle pain
  • Rickets (soft, weakened bones) in children
  • Osteopenia (weak, fragile bones) in older adults

Along with maintaining vitamin D, you also need adequate amounts of calcium to help prevent the following conditions:-

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Various types of cancers
  • Mental health conditions
  • Worst outcome in strokes
  • Heart Disease

David O'Halloran, MD, Cardiologist in the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre tells us "Most people know that vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone loss and depression, but they may not be aware of how it can affect their cardivascular health". 

According to Dr O'Halloran, researchers have observed and tracked the links between vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular health for decades. The Copenhagen City Heart Study showed an association between low vitamin D levels and higher risk of heart disease. In England, the Whitehall Study showed correlations between vitamin D deficiencies and vascular-related deaths, though further studies are needed. 

More recently, at the annual meeting of Acute Cardiovascular Care Association (ACAA) of the European Society of Cardiology, Dr Jin Wi from Korea presented research linking vitamin D deficiency with decreased brain function and increased mortality after a sudden cardiac arrest.

O'Halloran describes the results of the study as striking.

"Vitamin D deficient patients were much more likely to have poor neurological outcomes or die after cardiac arrest," he points out. "And one-third of the patients with a vitamin D deficiency died six months after their cardiac arrest,"

If you are concerned about your vitamin D levels, contact your doctor who can determine if a vitamin D supplement is necessary for you.