African vegetable stew

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(6-8 servings)

Ingredients

30ml Olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped and separated
1 whole chilli, green or red finely sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bunch spinach
250ml chickpeas or red kidney beans, cooked
215ml raisins
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
410g whole tomatoes
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
125ml uncooked brown rice
Tabasco, to taste

Directions

  • Warm the oil gently and sauté ½ the onion, chilli, garlic and the sliced white stems of the spinach for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the chopped spinach leaves and sauté a further 5 minutes.
  • Add the chickpeas or beans, the raisins, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
  • Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  • Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the rice.
  • Pat it down until it becomes moistened adding 30ml water if necessary.
  • Cover pot with a tight fitting lid and cook over a very low heat until the rice is tender (45 minutes).
  • Check the moisture regularly, ensuring it does not stick. Add a little water if necessary.

Season the rice and serve with Tabasco sauce.

Crispy stuffed potatoes

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(4 servings)

Ingredients
4 large baking potatoes
10ml olive oil
60ml grated parmesan cheese
½ cup (125ml) low fat milk
45ml smooth low fat cottage cheese
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp (1.25ml) pepper
A pinch of grated nutmeg
4 spring onions, thinly sliced

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 230°C. Prick the potatoes in several places with a fork and bake for 1 hour or until firm-tender. Leave the oven on.
  • Halve the potatoes lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving 5mm of flesh on the skin. Brush the insides of the potato skins with the oil and sprinkle with 30ml of the parmesan cheese. Place the skins cut-sides up on a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes or until they are crisp and golden. Leave the oven on.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mash the potato flesh with the milk, cottage cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg and the remaining 30ml parmesan cheese.
  • Spoon the mashed potato mixture into the crisped potato skins, return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until piping hot. Sprinkle potatoes with the spring onions.

Traditional vegetarian dhal

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(6 servings)

Ingredients
1 cup pink lentils
½ cup (125ml) onions, diced
¼ cup (62ml) tomatoes, diced
1tsp (5ml) fine red chilli powder
½ tsp (2.5ml) tumeric powder
Salt to taste
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves garlic
4 peppercorns
1 litre water

Garnish
1 sprig curry leaves
¼ tsp (1.25 ml) fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
¼ tsp (1.25ml) (black mustard seeds)
1 tsp (5ml) sliced garlic/crushed garlic
3 tbsp (45ml) canola/olive oil
Handful of chopped spring onions and coriander (dhania)

Directions

  • Combine all the ingredients (except the garnish ingredients) in a deep pot and boil to a thick broth.
  • Beat with an eggbeater until thick and smooth.
  • In a separate saucepan combine all the garnish ingredients (except spring onions and coriander) and cook until aroma arises.
  • Add to the dhal (broth) and stir well.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped spring onion and coriander before serving.
  • Serve with rice and salad.

Free smoothie when you download Kauai’s app

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Kauai is all about bringing you the freshest, healthiest food – which is why you’ll find them in our clubs. They’re also about giving back, which is why they created their loyalty card system, giving you a free smoothie for every 12 you buy. And now they’ve made that process even simpler: they’ve gone digital.

The digital loyalty card looks exactly like the paper one, except now you don’t have to rummage around in your wallet or back pocket to find it. It’ll be right there on your smartphone’s screen.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, be sure to get your free smoothie at your nearest Kauai by showing them your phone. Simple.

Kauai will be adding exciting new features later this year to make it even simpler and quicker to buy your favourite Kauai meals and drinks on-the-go. Be on the lookout.

Unfortunately, the following clubs arent able use the app just yet (dont worry, were working on it).                                            

  • Buffalo/East London                                                
  • Glenvista                                        
  • Meyersdal                      
  • Cascades                          
  • Kings Park    
  • Montana

How much screen time is healthy for kids?

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Now that technology is a big presence in most of our lives, it’s important to know how much time we should spend in front of the many screens we’re exposed to each day, and find a happy medium.

Kids in the digital age
Kids love screens. They’re bright and colourful and attention-grabbing. And as much as they are an essential part of being a kid in 2014 and beyond, they can be addictive and often come at the expense of things like quality family time, play dates and exercise.

Schools have made technology part of the curriculum, and rightly so. But in some households, this habit has extended into entertainment as well. When your kids are constantly glued to a screen, it’s not just that they aren’t being active, it can also lead to sleep deprivation.

Do you know how much time your kids spend with digital media each day?

Our screen time suggestions
0-2 years old – Kids below the age of 2 should stay away from screens altogether
3-5 years old – An hour a day is more than enough for this age group
6-18 years old – Stick to 2 hours a day.

Tip: Virgin Active offers great ways for your kids to stay active in a safe environment. They’ll get to run around and play and socialise. It’s a great idea to get your kids introduced to an active lifestyle as soon as possible. That way, they’re more likely to be fit and healthy when they grow up. Find out more about Club-V and Club-V Max right here.

Active teens
If your kids are old enough to use the gym equipment or go to group exercise classes (14 and up), bring them with to gym! Go for a swim or take a Ride class together. Spend some time together while staying active!

Tip: Virgin Active has created a special group exercise class, Kaos just for the 8 to 13 year olds.

Students and their screens
For students (teens and young adults), social media, selfies and instant messaging are massive. But how does that affect them? New research suggests that technology used in the classroom for non-academic purposes has worsened exam scores. The constant ‘multitasking’ that is involved is attractive but the effects are more detrimental than most people think. Phones and laptops can’t be banned from lecture halls, but the awareness and value of ‘being in the moment’ can go a long way, not just academically.

Tip: A great way to stay social and active (and away from the screen) is to round up a bunch of friends and do a group exercise class. Virgin Active has something to suit everybody’s tastes. You can see which class will suit you and your goals best right here. Is  there  supposed  to  be  a link  here ?

Active parents, active kids
Set an example. Your children look to you and what they see affects how they’ll be. Many of us spend our days cooped up in the office, glued to our computers or mobile phone. And it’s the same when we get home: TV, Facebook or a little online Scrabble. This is an example that kids are exposed to. Adults actually have to make even more of an effort to counteract the effects of our modern lifestyle, by actively making choices to go ‘old school’ and reduce screen time.

Our bodies are meant for movement. Did you know that sitting is fast becoming the new smoking, adding to health issues like obesity and other related cardiac risk factors?

Tip: If you feel like you aren’t being physical enough and need an extra push to get there, why not consider a Personal Trainer? For motivation in numbers, try a group exercise class. And if you prefer flying solo, spend some time on the treadmill or indoor bike. Swim some laps. If the weather’s good, take a hike! Don’t forget: Our saunas and steam rooms provide a great way to rid your body of toxins and to de-stress after a difficult workout or long day at the office. Spend some time in them.

Track your screen time and make a change
Start tracking how much time you and your family spend in front of a screen, including things like TV- and DVD-watching, playing video games, and using the computer for something other than school or work. Then take a look at how much physical activity all of you get. That way you’ll get a sense of what changes need to be made.

Is organic food really worth it?

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Everyone has an opinion on whether going organic is worth the extra bucks: is it really healthier and environmentally safer to buy organic? We thought we’d try to get to the bottom of this debate. Here’s what we found.

What makes Organic what it is?
- There are generally lower levels of pesticides and resistant bacteria found in organically grown foods.
– Before a food can be labelled organic, there are strict controls and rules put into place.
– In the case of plants, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and bio-engineering are a definite no-no, while antibiotics and growth hormones can’t be used in animals. Knowledge of the long-term effects of these chemicals on one’s health is lacking but many prefer to err on the side of caution.

The answer: when it comes to nutritional quality (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants), organic food has the same rating as conventionally grown foods, although some studies showed slightly higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids in organic milk and chicken.

Variety is the way to go
Eat a variety of fruit, vegetables, whole-grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. Organic foods are more expensive than conventionally grown foods, so if the expense prevents you from eating a sufficient quantity and variety of healthy foods then it doesn’t make sense to go organic.

Grow your own way
Another way to go more organic without emptying your pockets would be to grow your own vegetables – you don’t have to harvest large crops: a few vegetables in a couple of pots on the balcony will work, all you just need sunlight water. It can be a family affair involving the kids too. There’re enough jobs to go around, from growing seedlings to watering to harvesting of the crops.   You’ll be amazed how much better freshly grown vegetables taste too!

If organic foods are just too expensive and food gardening isn’t your thing, there are two things you can do to minimise some of the potentially negative consequences of buying conventionally grown produce:

  • Buy locally produced products in season – there is less chance that they’ve been treated to keep them fresh.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables well and, where possible, peel them (remember that a lot of the good nutrition often resides just under the skin of the vegetable/fruit).

In a nutshell: If you’re in the position to buy organic – do it! If not, don’t stress. It’s about making a decision that best suits you and your family. Although the levels of pesticides might be higher in conventionally farmed produce, it doesn’t mean that they are high enough to cause a long-term problem.

Get your vitamins naturally

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Do you rely on supplements to get your daily boost of vitamins and minerals? They may be doing more harm than good. The cheaper, less risky way of making sure you get the right amount of vitamins and minerals? A well-balanced diet rich in fruit, vegetables, legumes, wholegrains and lean protein.

How much is enough?
You should aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

So, what is a portion?
1 portion =

  • 1 piece of fruit, the size of a tennis ball or 2 golf balls, 10-12 grapes or ½ a medium banana or 1 cup of chopped mixed fruit.
  • 2 tbsp. of raisins.
  • ½ cup of starchy veggies, like carrots, beetroot, pumpkin, corn and peas.
  • 1 cup of salad veggies (lettuce, peppers, tomato, onion) or broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and green beans.
  • ½ cup of fruit or veggie juice (but it’s best to eat it whole).

How can I get more fruit and vegetables in my diet?

  • Make a fruit smoothie using a selection of fruit and fat-free or low-fat yoghurt (this is a great breakfast or dessert option).
  • Add a selection of vegetables to your stews, soups and casseroles. If it’s more convenient, use frozen vegetables.
  • Add raisins to your cereal in the morning.
  • Add a banana or an apple to your lunch bag.
  • Munch on carrot sticks during the day at work.

Mosey on over to our Eat section and grab a healthy meal plan and shopping list, and find delicious recipes that can help you get your daily dose of vitamins.