The last six months have been quite a turning point for me, with regards to taking a more active and holistic approach to my health – both mentally and physically.
It’s so obvious, and touted so often in the fitness market, that it seems almost ridiculous to say it – but I discovered (after rather unwillingly joining a local boot camp class with a girlfriend) that exercise can be a powerful ally against my anxiety. After just a few short weeks of exercising twice a week, I began to not only feel better (less anxious, less stressed and more able to focus) but I began to feel physically stronger and healthier. I had more energy to play with my children, (and decidedly more patience).
Finally the penny dropped!
Ah-ha! Looking after my body has a direct and positive impact on my mental-wellbeing!
(Yeah, I know – another der! It’s so obvious-moment! But a game-changer for me nevertheless.)
Instead of reaching for a glass of wine (or 3) at the end of every day to relieve tension and anxiety, I realised that water and a workout worked way better for me (and I wouldn’t wake up feeling crappy and overwhelmed before the day even began!) Likewise, grabbing a piece of fruit or some chopped veggies to get me through the 3pm afternoon slump worked better than hiding in the pantry snacking on the sugar-laden chocolate bar I could find. Who’d have thunk, right?
By way of disclaimer I should probably mention that I can occasionally still be found with my head in the pantry oftentimes around 3pm – although these days 2 squares of dark chocolate is the healthier alternative, I have swapped in.
The last six months have seen me making some gradual, and sustainable lifestyle changes for my family and I, and diet is of course, a key component of that. Out with the processed and in with the fresh!
Now, I’ll be completely honest with you and say that when I was approached to review a food dehydrator last month, I wasn’t as excited or interested as I probably should have been. In fact, I was a little (okay, a lot) clueless as to what a food dehydrator actually did or what the benefits of using one were.
So – just incase you have that same kind of vague expression on your face since I mentioned the words ‘food dehydrator,’ let me run you through a few things I have since learned about this widely underrated kitchen appliance.
- Dehydrating is the oldest form of food preservation.
- Unlike other forms of food preservation, dehydrating doesn’t require any preservatives. It is 100% natural food.
- As the water is removed from the food – the flavours can be concentrated and actually taste better than it did originally!
- The dehydration process retains the nutritional content of the food, retains the alkalinity of fresh produce and inhibits the growth of microbes like bacteria that make food turn bad.
- Food that has been dehydrated is easy to store (in an air-tight container in your pantry away from direct sunlight) and takes up approximately 1/6 of the original storage space, without the need to freeze or refrigerate.
- Dehydrators are great for making healthy, portable, light-weight snacks –perfect for at home, work, or travel.
- Using a dehydrator allows you to buy foods in bulk while they are in season and preserve for later.
- Save money on store-bought processed snacks (that are often laden with sugar and/or salt) and create your own healthier versions.
Okay – now we are all up to speed on the benefits of food dehydration (for both your health and your hip-pocket) – let’s take a look more specifically at the L’Equip 528 Dehydrator that I have been sharing my kitchen bench with this past week.
As a totally dehydrating newbie, I have so far experimented with only small batches of fruit and veg in order to get a feel for the machine (and a taste for the end result).
My 5 year old daughter Bubble is particularly fascinated with the process, and keen to suggest new things to dehydrate. Her personal favourite – strawberries -are next on the list, as she has quite rightly pled her case that then she will be able to take them to school for snack-time ‘and they wont be able to go squishy and juicy in her lunchbox!’ I’ll let you know what the verdict is on them when it comes in!
Depending on the type of food you are dehydrating, it can take anywhere between 6-12 hours in the machine. The instruction manual features a very handy and clear table of foods and their recommended drying time, and besides preparing/cutting the food and placing it into the machine – there is very little to do other than place it into the trays, set the required temperature and let it do it’s thing!
My attempt at dried tomatoes was less successful as I didn’t allow them to dry for long enough (Note: to self. Follow the manual – that is what is is for!)
So far – the L’Equip 528 Dehydrator has proved that it’s far more interesting than I first gave it credit for and the list of things that I can use it for is really only limited by my imagination.
So much so that I have a trip planned to the local farmers market so that I can stock up on some bulk produce and really put it’s money-saving capabilities to the test.
Also, after Googling ‘Dehydrator Recipes’ I have come to learn that the humble food dehydrator can be used to create a multitude of healthful recipes – from homemade fruit roll ups, flatbreads, cookies, cakes etc. There will be lots more culinary experimenting happening in the weeks to come.
SPECIAL OFFER: Mums Lounge readers have exclusive access to $100 worth of extras if they purchase the L’Equip Dehydrator. Purchase a dehydrator from the Le Equip website here between 7 September, 2015 and 4 October, 2015 and receive a bonus gift pack including a Chopping Board, 4” Ceramic Knife and The Alkaline Cook Book.
Disclosure: I was gifted the L’Equip Dehydrator for the purpose of writing an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.