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Get FODMAP friendly

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Coeliac disease and digestive issues run in my family and throughout my whole adult life I have suffered varying degrees of digestive dysfunction. My discomfort seems to flare up in times of high stress, both physical and emotional, when I am exhausted or when I have let my diet sprawl just a bit too far into the processed, sugar/carb loaded realm. This article is based on my research findings, my personal experience and my experimentation with a low FODMAP diet in conjunction with a qualified naturopath.

Disclaimer: I want to preface this post by stating that I am not a dietitian nor a naturopath. Topics explored on this blog share my own personal beliefs, opinions and experiences and I do not speak on behalf of any other individual or organization.
Now, lets get into it.

What is the point of a low FODMAP diet?

It has been shown that individuals with functional digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), crohns, and ulcerative colitis, can benefit from utilizing a low FODMAP diet. I have also recently learnt that FODMAP’s may also benefit individuals with gynaecological conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Endometriosis (See more info here). This diet is utilized to enable an individual to gain greater control over digestive symptoms and, with the assistance and guidance of a dietitian/naturopath, establish which foods are triggers for digestive flare ups causing increased inflammation/discomfort, and which are better tolerated and can be reintroduced after an initial elimination phase. For evidence based research findings on the topic see http://shepherdworks.com.au/disease-information/research-studies/.

 

What does FODMAP mean?

FODMAP is an abbreviation for a group of short chain carbohydrates that are highly fermentable and poorly digested, which for some people, leads to digestive discomfort including bloating, gas, abdominal pain, visceral organ pain, constipation and/or diahorrea. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. Listed below are some examples, but not an exhaustive list, of items from each group.

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ermentable Oligosaccharides - Artichokes, Garlic (in large amounts), Leek, Onion (brown, white, Spanish, onion powder), Spring Onion (white part), Shallots, Wheat (in large amounts), Rye (in large amounts), Barley (in large amounts).
Disaccharides – Milk, icecream, custard, dairy desserts, condensed and evaporated milk, milk powder, yoghurt, soft unripened cheeses (eg. ricotta, cottage, cream, marscarpone).
Monosaccharides Honey, Apples, Mango, Pear, Watermelon, High Fructose Corn Syrup.
And Polyols – Apples, Apricots, Nectarines, Pears, Plums, Prunes, Mushrooms, sorbitol (420), mannitol (421), xylitol (967), maltitol (965) and isomalt (953).

Click here to see the full list in a printable form from IBS Diets.

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How does a low FODMAP diet work?
As you can see from the list above the diet is quite restrictive and it would be very challenging to commit to this way of eating long term. BUT never fear, the low FODMAP diet is designed to be a temporary method to identify foods that individuals are sensitive to and discover the amount of each group tolerable to the individual. In some cases a variety of foods may need to be eliminated to improve gut health and comfort. However, for others it will be about managing portion sizes, avoiding eating too many high FODMAP foods in one meal/day or all together avoiding certain items that are identified as being poorly tolerated.

There are two phases for a low FODMAP diet:

Phase 1 – Elimination phase: You must stick to a strict low FODMAP diet for 6-8weeks, cutting out all foods high in FODMAP’s to give your body time to recoup, reduce inflammation of the digestive tract and allow your symptoms to subside. The length of phase 1 will varying from one person to another depending on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying pathophysiology of them, therefore it is extremely beneficial to seek the guidance of a qualified naturopath, nutritionist or dietician.

Phase 2 – Reintroductory phase: This phase includes reincorporating foods at differing volumes over a number of weeks to determine which foods are tolerable for you and which foods are not. Its important that this phase is completed properly to ensure that all your hard work during the initial phase is not undone by too hastily jumping back into a normal diet.

Helpful Resources:

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Almond and pumpkin seed quinoa breakfast brittle

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https://fodmapchallenge.com/

“Monash University Low FODMAP Diet” app - The team at the Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University have developed a smartphone application which provides accurate information about foods that trigger IBS reactions in order to help sufferers manage their symptoms. This app enables you to search for food items and determine their FODMAP status. It is very helpful as a quick resource when dining out, at the supermarket and incorporating FODMAP containing food back into your diet in moderated doses once out of the elimination phase.

Sue Shepard - Dr Sue Shepherd is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist. She has authored comprehensive evidence based guide and cookbooks on the low FODMAP diet and has a low FODMAP-dedicated food brand, titled “Sue Shepherd” which offers a range of products. These products are all FODMAP Friendly (low FODMAP) and gluten free. They are made in Australia and have no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. http://shepherdworks.com.au/

FODMAPPER - Fodmapper are also a brand specializing in low FODMAP products including stocks, pasta sauces, soups and simmer sauces, they are available at Coles and also independent health food stores – http://www.fodmapped.com/

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TIPS FOR NEW FODMAPPERS:

- If you’re going to dine out with friends, choose to go for breakfast or brunch. Lots of places offer “make your own” style breakfasts with extras that can be added to a basic base of gluten free toast or poached eggs on gluten free toast. Friendly Little Kitchen has a great list of cafes/restaurants in Melbourne who have been happy to accommodate her dietary requirements, so there is hope and no harm is asking.

- Print a copy of the list and stick it to the fridge, stock up big on the things you can have so you don’t feel deprived.

- If you’re going out for dinner, call the restaurant prior to see if they will cater for your dietary requirements, in this day and age you are not the first, and you certainly wont be the last person to ask for a FODMAP friendly meal. If they get annoyed or confused by the large list of things you cannot have, make it simple and just tell them the things you can eat. Eg. Salmon with steamed vegetables or vegetables cooked in olive oil with herbs.

- Use onion and garlic infused oils, they will add the flavour to your dishes minus the discomfort. You are also able to have the green section of leeks, spring onions or chives to add extra flavour to dishes.

- Experiment with things you don’t normally use in the kitchen. Now is a great time to embrace the ingredients on the “can have” list that you have yet to unlocked the full potential of. Take this opportunity to master chef it up.

- STICK TO THE RULES as strictly as possible, this is what will underpin your success. Yes its hard, yes its limiting, but trust me it gets easier and its not forever.

- Seek the help and guidance of a professional; I know its expensive and you’re probably thinking “hey I could just do this myself” however, if you’ve been suffering symptoms for quite some time and you are finally considering doing this very restricting diet, do it properly! You want to reap the benefits of your hard work, so give yourself the best chance of achieving that. Also, by seeking assistance from a professional you will also benefit from hearing their tips and tricks and receiving additional supplements and tonics that will aid you along the way.

Best of luck!

 

50 shades of skin care

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If your skin is a really sore point at the moment my heart goes out to you, it truly does. I know how it feels to try everything and continue to wake up everyday with more blemishes, sore skin, deflated confidence and feeling like it is never going to improve. I prefaced the post with a picture of my skin make up free once it had cleared up because shortly I will post a picture of what my skin was like midway through 2016 and it ain’t so pretty.

Last year I took on a lot, I was training for a marathon, completing my final year of uni and trying to fit in work, classes and clinical placements, I was busting my balls getting my applications together for graduate positions, preparing for interviews, stressed about money, had no social life and was physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted. Stress did a real number on me, manifesting in a number of ways 1. With digestive issues (hence ending up on the low FODMAP diet), 2. Adrenal fatigue 3. Extreme changes in my skin resulting in continual break outs, rashes and inflammation for upward of 6months.

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When I was in my most dire state, I was constantly searching for answers, constantly searching the internet for new things to try, all I wanted was options. All I wanted was to be able to fix the problem naturally without having to resort to prolonged courses of antibiotics, hormone replacement therapy or roacutain. Skin issues are complex, and you need to understand the root cause of your breakouts before you can effectively treat it, so enlisting the assistance of a professional should be at the top of the list.

Speaking of lists, I am now presenting you with a list of 50 things to try if your skin is having a crisis (YES 50) because whilst there is no be all and end all solution to fix troubled skin, a selection of these things may help you and/or benefit your current routine. Believe it or not I tried/implemented 46 of the 50 items on this list, and I would have done all 50 had I had the money. My skin issues, as mentioned previously were attributed to adrenal fatigue, impaired gut health and stress, so ultimately items on this list that targeted those areas where ones that worked for me. Some things listed below I still practice daily, others occasionally, and some I stopped, as they weren’t beneficial to my situation. I have placed them into the categories of; professional treatments, supplements, simple things you can do at home, stress management, products and diet. I know how devastating the effects of prolonged skin issues can be on ones self-esteem, and not only that, its damn painful and frustrating, so if I can help even one person with the suggestions in this post then collating it will have been worthwhile.

Disclaimer: Please note I am not a beauty therapist or skin specialist, everything in this post is listed here because I tried it in an attempt to improve my own skin. I have not read evidence based journal articles on each dot point and therefore cannot vouch for the scientific validity of every suggestion but I am merely offering them as avenues to be explored. Therefore, information on this blog is not intended to replace information from health/medical professionals or certified skin specialists. None of the products, treatments, supplements or equipment mentioned in this post is sponsored, all are items I used which were purchased with money from my own pocket. Also, note that the underlying factors contributing to skin changes are so vast and there are so many individual influences that come into play when trying to determine why your skin has thrown a tantrum so you must be patient and gentle with yourself. I know its not easy, and these are words you wont want to hear; but its not going to fix itself overnight. Invest in rest, invest in your skin, fix your skin from the inside out, get to the root cause, take care of all aspects of your well-being and you will start to see a change.

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PROFESSIONAL TREATMENTS

1. See a dermatologist or naturopath (Recommend if you’ve got the $$).
If you can afford to see a professional about your skin then I would urge you to do so, it may be a bit of an outlay at the beginning but by getting some qualified help you’re enlisting a professional support who can tailor treatments to your needs based on their knowledge from years of study and experience.

2. Find yourself a holistic GP  (Recommend if you’ve got the $$).
To ensure that the underlying cause of your acne isn’t something that requires referral to a gynecologist, endocrinologist or other specialist to manage/explore. As I said in the disclaimer, there are MANY causes of acne flare ups, if you want to get to the bottom of it and ensure there are no imbalances or complex health issues triggering the acne, then you may need specialist assistance.

3.  Try Chinese herbal medicine (Recommend if you’ve got the $$).
If neither of the above two float your boat maybe consider a Chinese herbalist, keep your mind open and explore all avenues.

4. Get a skin assessment performed at an accredited skin clinic (Highly recommend)
This is an important step to ensure that the products you are using are suited to your skin and are treating the appropriate issues. Having an assessment will ensure you are not spending bucket loads of money on products and treatments that are not tailored to your individual needs.

5. Lactic, glycolic and/or salicylic peels (Recommend if you’ve got the $$)
Glycolic acid helps  decrease pigmentation and hydrates dry skin. Lactic acid is similar to but much milder than glycolic acid, making it better for sensitive skin. Salicylic acid seeps into oil secreting glands, dissolves oil secretions and loosens clogs which may be plugging the glands. (Source: http://www.dermatocare.com/blog/Glycolic,-Salicylic,-Lactic,-Mandelic-or-TCA-peel–which-one-is-best,-know-from-a-dermatologist).

6. Experiment with LED therapy (Recommend if you’ve got the $$)
The interaction of light delivered through Light Emitting Diodes is used to activate cell receptors and bring about cellular changes in your skin. Various wavelengths/colours are selected and each wavelength has a specific cellular function. Blue light is selected to kill bacteria assisting in the healing of acne and break out skins. (Source: http://www.soulskin.com.au/services/led-therapy/).

7. Dermal needling (Worth a shot if you’ve got the $$).
Skin needling works to stimulate a natural reaction in your skin to produce more of its own collagen.
(Source: http://www.soulskin.com.au/services/skin-needling/)

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 SUPPLEMENTS:

8. Probiotics (Recommend if you have gut issues).
For peeps suffering gut issues, the use of probiotics will often improve acne (Source; http://www.worldhealth.net/news/probiotics-skin-health/).

9. Zinc (Recommend)
It helps heal and rejuvenate skin, skin relies on zinc for new cell production and the function of cell membranes, it may also ward off acne flare-ups (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4120804/).

10. Vitex (Recommend if your acne is hormonal)
Effective in treating premenstrual acne by having a hormone-regulating effect that is thought to act on hormone levels in the pituitary to increase progesterone levels and reduce estrogen levels (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92761/).

11. B Vitamins (Recommend if you’re vegan or vegetarian).
B vitamins help metabolise food sources, providing nutrients to the whole body. Vitamin B12 helps to regulate your skin’s pigment production and location, preventing the darkening of skin. B vitamin deficiency can result in skin irregularities (Source: http://www.myvitamins.com/articles/nutrition/beauty-benefits-b-vitamins/).

12. Magnesium (Recommend if you’re stressed)
Upping magnesium intake helps us manage stress and anxiety, and by doing so, helps us manage acne. Reducing stress and anxiety reduces circulating cortisol (the stress hormone) which can worsen existing acne (Source: http://www.clearskinforever.net/magnesium-acne/).

13. Silica (Worth a shot)
Silica acts to expel any buildup in the body, which is why it’s considered good for chronic acne, as this may be caused by an excess of toxins. Any condition that isn’t healing as fast as you’d like might be helped by a dose of silica (Source: http://skincare.lovetoknow.com/Acne_Granites_Natural_Treatment).

14. Grape seed extract (Worth a shot)
Antioxidants, including grape seed extract, help combat free radicals in the body which if unattended can cause oxidative damage to cells. Antioxidants help us fight viruses, allergens, and carcinogens and also have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-cancerous and anti-microbial properties (Source: http://www.preventive-health-guide.com/grape-seed-extract.html).

15. Stress & Anxiety supplements (Highly recommend if you’re stressed)
As already mentioned above, stress can play havoc with your skin if you’re already experiencing breakouts. Stress & anxiety supplements will help manage worry, anxiety and nervousness by relaxing your central nervous system and keeping cortisol levels in check. I take Fusion Stress and Anxiety.

16. Marine collagen supplements (Worth a shot).
Collagen is one of the main building blocks for cells, tissues and organs. Collagen, amongst other things, gives skin its strength, elasticity and structure. Taking collagen supplements is thought to help support the skins ability to hold and improve its structure.  However, there is no solid evidence that taking oral supplements is beneficial (Source: http://cosmedmd.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/collagen-supplements-do-they-really-work.html)

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SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO AT HOME

17. Ensure your skin in topically hydrated and don’t over cleanse (Highly recommend)
“It’s a common misconception that those with an oily skin should avoid moisturizers. In fact, it’s vital that even oily skin gets moisture because without it, skin will overcompensate for the loss of hydration [with more oil], leading to breakouts and an uneven skin texture.” ( Source: https://www.bustle.com/articles/24800-20-skincare-mistakes-that-are-damaging-your-face)

18. Change pillow cases regularly (Highly recommend)
Pillow cases act as sponges that soak up make up, sweat, hair products and dirt, and you press your face up against it for 6-8hrs a night. Over time this residue can irritate your skin and block your pores so get into the habit of changing it on the regular.

19. Buy new pillows (Recommend if you’ve had the same ones for years).
If you have had the same pillows for quite some time, consider purchasing some new ones, dust mites and other nasties can fester in your pillow leading to, or worsening, breakouts. (Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/28/keeping-pillow-too-long.aspx)

20. Facial Steaming (Worth a shot).
An old-fashioned remedy said to keep your skin clean and blackhead-free. By warming your skin to the point of perspiration it helps clean out pores and bring pimples to a head. (Source: http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/beauty/news-reviews/steam-for-clear-skin/news-story/22ac49919ca71d8064b9b9b1962a13bb)

21. Have a make up free day a week (Highly recommend).
Give your skin a chance to breathe – sans makeup, & chemicals. “Avoiding occlusive skincare products, such as liquid foundations that tend to clog pores, can also reduce unwanted, non-acne skin breakouts,” says Kristel Polder, MD, board-certified dermatologist and skin care expert. (Source: http://stylecaster.com/beauty/why-you-should-go-without-makeup/#ixzz4fM1pIM97).

22. Use minimal products on your skin at the one time (Highly recommend).
Some days I was so desperate to see some difference in my skin I would cleanse it, put on a mask, exfoliate, then tone, then apply serums, then moisturize then spot treat, and if I was home, I would probably wash my face again throughout the day and then do it all again plus 3 other steps before bed. This resulted in further inflammation and aggravation, sometimes leading to very dry skin or rashes, so please don’t go overboard, be gentle with your skin. Keep exfoliation and masks to an every now and then activity, not everyday.

23. Wash make up brushes regularly (Highly recommend).
Bacteria can grow in your makeup brushes and worsen or prolong outbreaks, make sure you wash them regularly. Click here to see how to wash your brushes.

24. Do not touch your face (Highly recommend).
“While touching your face occasionally won’t automatically cause pimples, if you’re putting greasy fingers on congested skin, it will plug up your skin follicles and increase chances of breakouts.” ( Source: http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/daily/tips/quick-tips-does-touching-your-face-cause-acne-breakouts-.htm)

25. Do not exercise with makeup on (Highly recommend)
It will clog your pores and potentially lead to breakouts or aggravate your current breakouts.

26. Do not go to bed with makeup on (Highly recommend)
Instead cleanse, tone, apply serums and/or a retinoid cream (if you use them) prior to bed. Going to sleep with a face full of make up will only clog your pores and irritate your skin.

27. Double cleanse if you’re wearing heavy makeup (Highly recommend).
The first cleanse is to remove the make up, second cleanse it to properly clean the skin. Research shows that skin which isn’t properly cleaned not only looks dull, due to a build up of dirt and dead skin, but that this surface layer can prevent active ingredients getting to where they need to be. (Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3220014/Why-wash-face-twice-bed-Double-cleansing-means-products-work-faster-effectively.html#ixzz4fMBsKEcY).

28. Be patient and persistent (Highly recommend)
It can take months for things to start taking effect, especially when you’re working on things from the inside out. Give each new treatment adequate time to start working before you dismiss it. I know its frustrating, but it will be worth it in the long run.

29. Understand how your products work and apply them in the correct order (Highly recommend)
“Products with heavier consistencies can block lighter weight ones from penetrating the skin and doing their job”. (Source: https://www.bustle.com/articles/24800-20-skincare-mistakes-that-are-damaging-your-face)

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PRODUCTS

30. Alpha hydroxy acid facial towelettes (recommend if you’ve got the $$).
Along the same lines as the other acid based products I have discussed in this post. The ones I use are Dr Dennis Gross – Alpha beta universal daily peel treatments I only use them occasionally as they are expensive, but they are amazing. You can get a sample pack containing 5 treatments from MECCA which might be a better option than buying the large pack straight off the bat.

31. Drying lotion is your friend (Recommend if you don’t already have an effective spot treatment)
Mario Badescu’s Drying lotion helps dry out surface blemishes and balance oil in the skin, made with a blend of calamine and salicylic acid. I love it!

32. Use a simple all natural cleanser and moisturizer, twice daily (Highly recommend)
It is very much trial and error with what products are going to be best for your skin however I use Sukin Foaming Facial cleanser as its a gentle non-drying cleanser that does not irritate my skin and it is also free from harsh chemicals. I also use the Sukin Mattifying Facial Moisturizer as it is quickly absorbed and has a matt finish which I like.

33. Invest in serums  (Recommend if you’ve got the $$)
The most common benefits include hydration, increased nourishment, brightening of the skin, and acne prevention. They also help in strengthening skin cells. While other face creams contain only 5 to 10 per cent of active ingredients, a face serum can contain up to 70 per cent!” (Source: http://www.idiva.com/news-style-beauty/beauty-benefits-of-using-a-skin-serum/21026)

34. Benzoyl-peroxide (Highly recommend during very aggravated periods).
“Benzoyl peroxide has three actions – it kills germs (bacteria), it reduces inflammation and it helps to unplug blocked pores. You can buy benzoyl peroxide without a prescription at a pharmacy. It comes in different brand names and strengths – there is a 2.5%, 4%, 5% and 10% strength.” (Source: https://patient.info/medicine/benzoyl-peroxide-for-acne-acnecide-brevoxyl-panoxyl)

35. Switched to all natural & mineral make up (Recommend if you have sensitive skin).
Mineral based make ups contain added minerals such as zinc, titanium and silica, which are beneficial to the skin, with out the talc and parabens, which are not beneficial to the skin (Source: http://www.acnespecialists.com.au/treating-acne/skin-care-tips-acne-prone-skin).

36. Use a tea tree based toner (Highly recommend).
Tea Tree oil is known for its antibacterial, antiseptic and antimicrobial effects which work wonders in keeping angry skin in line. I use and love LUSH Tea Tree Water, it contains no alcohol so it doesn’t leave skin dry or tight.

37. Always wear zinc based sunscreen when outdoors (Highly recommend)
Some skin treatments, serums and products make your skin more sensitive to UV. By using zinc based sunscreens whenever you are outdoors you are not only protecting your skin from burning, but your skin will benefit from having zinc topically applied and it will also prevent premature aging.

38. Salicylic based facemasks (Work a shot)
Salicylic Acid helps stimulate cell turnover to curb breakouts. I use Origins Out Of Trouble mask – I found it good when my skin had settled a little, however when my skin was at its angriest adding this into my routine was a bit too much and it just ended up drying my skin out.

39. Retinoids (Highly recommend).
Treatments with retinoids and hydroxy acids encourage skin renewal to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and imperfections while evening skin tone. I use and love the Cosmedix Define.

40. Oral contraceptive pill.
When my skin first started playing up I decided to go back on the oral contraceptive pill to see if it made any difference to my skin situation. It didn’t, and I didn’t want to feel chained to the pill in order to keep my skin clear, if it did start working, so after a good 4months I stopped taking it. This is a personal decision and its really up to you to decide whether its something that you will benefit from or not. Everyone’s cycle, gynecological history and menstrual symptoms will be very different so there is no “one size fits all” for this topic.

41. Facial Cleansing Brush (Highly recommend).
The “Spin for Perfect Skin” facial cleansing device effectively removes dead skin cells on the face and body and promotes cellular rejuvenation at the same time. It allows for a deeper and more thorough clean than what is able to be achieved by using your hands alone and it gives great results. I use the Skin for Perfect Skin model from Vanity Planet - I’ve found the pressure and durability is really good, although I dropped my last one and that was the end of it…. so be careful with it.

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STRESS RELIEF

42. Practice activities that promote relaxation (Highly recommend)
Researchers have found that wounds, including acne, are much slower in healing when a person is under stress. Slower healing of acne means that the pimples stay longer and are more susceptible to increasing in severity. Lower your cortisol levels (the stress hormone) by burning essential oils, walking outside, utilising meditation, using sound therapy, reading, immersing yourself in nature or doing any activity you find calming. (Source: http://www.healthline.com/health/stress-acne#overview1).

43. Swap some of your high energy/demand activities for more chilled ones (Highly recommend).
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DIETARY

44. Drink more water (Highly recommend).
Toxins, bodily waste, and even bacteria can be trapped within your skin without adequate hydration to flush them out, which can increase your likelihood of acne (Source: https://yoderm.com/pimples/does-drinking-water-help-acne).

45. Cut or reduce dairy (Recommend if you have gut issues).
Dairy, even organic and varieties without added hormones, all contain natural hormones that can lead to acne. Remember, dairy only comes from pregnant cows, so you’re taking in the hormones from both the male and the female involved in the reproduction experience and the milk that is the result.

46. Give medicinal mushrooms a try (Highly recommend)
Medicinal mushroom aid the body in constructing a powerful immune system, promoting hormonal adaptability and generally bringing the body back to a state of homeostasis. Different blends provide differing benefits & I highly recommend Super Feast – my favourite blend is He Shou Wu, which aided my adrenal restoration (Source: https://www.superfeast.com.au/)

47. Up your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables (Highly recommend).
Fruit and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that help fend off free radicals in the body that, as mentioned earlier, can cause damage to cells within the body. The wider variety of fruit and vegetables you include in your diet the more you will reap the benefits. See this link for a list of foods that are especially good for your skin.

48. Cut down sugar intake (Highly recommend)
Frequent sugar intake increases hormones that stimulate sebum production and skin cell growth. Inflammation is another critical factor in acne. Studies have shown acne patients have higher levels of inflammation than those with healthy skin. This depletes antioxidants and leaves the skin vulnerable to inflammation, making it more likely that you get acne. Increase in inflammation is the reason food allergies, gut problems, and some foods aggravate acne. Sugar is bad for inflammation. Indulging in sugar can also feed Candida overgrowth that may indirectly cause acne. (Source: https://www.acneeinstein.com/does-sugar-cause-acne/)

49. Incorporate bone broth into your morning routine (Highly recommend if you have gut issues).
Broth has a high gelatine/collagen content which supports gut health and the amino acids in bone broth help reduce inflammation. As the broth works to settle and repair the gut lining it allows good bacteria to flourish, enlivening the skin. Bone broth also provides the amino acids needed for collagen production. Collagen keeps the skin smooth, firm and reduces wrinkles. (Source: https://wellnessmama.com/23777/bone-broth-benefits/)

50. Sip herbal tea blends formulated help skin (Highly recommend)
Tea, which is rich in antioxidant properties, can help keep your skin hydrated, reverse the effects of UV damage, and reduce inflammation. (Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/teas-for-better-skin)

WISHING YOU THE BEST OF LUCK X

 

Float Sessions – An ideal practice to aid recovery, relaxation & rejuvenation

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Floatation is something I had wanted to try for quite some time. The concept of floating weightlessly in dark still silence sounded both intriguing and terrifying but I knew the benefits of epsom salt first hand and I was eager to see if such an experience would help ease my frantic/chaotic mind.

 


WHEN I POSTED ON SOCIAL MEDIA ABOUT MY FLOAT I FOUND THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE INTRIGUED BY MY EXPERIENCE AND WANTED TO KNOW A BIT MORE ABOUT MY SESSION AND FLOATATION IN GENERAL. SO I PITCHED SOME QUESTIONS TO THE LEGENDS AT THE WELLNESS STUDIO IN GEELONG TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA ABOUT WHAT IS INVOLVED, WHAT TO EXPECT AND HOW YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM A FLOAT. FOR THOSE OF YOU INTERESTED I HAVE ALSO WRITTEN ABOUT MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. 



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Q&A with THE WELLNESS STUDIO IN GEELONG

1. For those who have never seen a flotation tank before, can you please explain a bit about the tank and how it works ?

The Floatation Tank is large and enclosed, and designed in a way that feels spacious and open. Inside the Tank, 360kg of Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) is dissolved in 30cm deep water that is warmed to 34.5degrees, which is exactly skin temperature. This solution is dense enough to allow people of all body types to float effortlessly and give the sensation of no gravity. The unique environment removes most external stimuli that keep the brain constantly moving, allowing access to the theta brain state effortlessly. 


2. What are physiological benefits of having a flotation session?

There are multiple benefits that come from the Floatation, most of which can be experience from the first session alone. With frequent session these benefits will progress.

The benefits to Floatation include:

·         Pain management of muscles and joints – From minor to chronic

·         Relief from migraines

·         Accelerated recovery and enhances performance

·         Reduction and even elimination of the ailments in pregnancy

·         Reduces stress, anxieties, and PTSD

·         Assists with sleep disorders and fatigue

·         Enhances creativity, learning and increases brain function

·         Promotes  spiritual discovery and meditation


3. What kind of experience do people report having in a 1hour flotation session?

The first experience of floatation is always a bit strange and may take time to adjust. The brain isn’t used to the lack of stimulation, so it’s not uncommon for the mind to be busy and the body tense. After a short period of time the tension will release, sense of the body will fade away, leaving the mind in a meditative brain wave state and may cause the floated to fall into a deep sleep. After an hour session floaters feel relaxed, their bodies feel loose and without tension. Some people report feeling drowsy, while others may feel refreshed and energised. It’s also common for floaters to experience a deep and refreshing night sleep the same night after floating and in days following due to the mass magnesium absorption. After frequently floating people have experienced deeper states of relaxation, visuals, lucid dreaming, pain relief, improved performance, accelerated recovery, stress management and more. The Floatation Tank provides is a unique experience each time. 

 

4. Who are the individuals likely to benefit most from a session in the tank?

Floatation is an experience that everyone can try. All individuals can take something beneficial away from their floatation experience. At The Studio we have floaters coming in with the purpose of aiding their skin conditions, improve and recover from athletic performance and sports, reducing their stress, anxiety or PTSD, others may be seeking to get some peace and quiet to themselves, spiritual exploration and more. For people who may practice meditation, yoga or mindfulness tend to relax sooner within the first session, and for those who may be suffering from severe anxiety, pain and sleep conditions the benefits will only progress with each session.


5. Is it safe for pregnant women to float?

Floatation is completely safe at all stages of the pregnancy. It the perfect experience and environment to reduce and even eliminate the ailments in pregnancy. The soothing magnesium mineral solution inside the tank allows complete weightlessness, and even allows women to relax on their stomachs without any discomfort.  

 

6. Am I likely to feel claustrophobic when in the tank?

The Floatation Tank is large and enclosed, and designed in a way that feels spacious and open. Floaters are in complete control of their environment, so if they wish to keep the door to the tank open or ajar they are able to.


7. Is there anything you recommend doing in preparation for a flotation session?

To familiarise yourself as much as possible will only better the experience as it won’t seems as foreign. To do this check out our website & online resources, ask a friend / family,  give us a call  or even visit the studio so we can show you around.


8. What do I need to bring with me for a float session?

At The Studio we provide everything needed (towels, shampoo & conditioner, moisturiser, hair dryer etc.) Bathers although optional, we recommend its best without as they can potentially be distracting and uncomfortable in the experience.


9. How much is a flotation session likely to set me back?

A single 1 hour Floatation session is $60, but we have on offer multiple passes which are more cost effective.


10. Can I just go once or do I have to go multiple times to reap the benefits of flotation?

You will be able to feel benefits from a single session alone, but these will only get stronger and progress the more frequent Floating.

 

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MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

When I arrived at The Wellness Studio in Belmont I was a little nervous. I had a million thoughts running through my head – Was I going to feel claustrophobic, panicked, trapped with my thoughts in such a confined space?! As someone with a mind that runs a mile a minute I was concerned that perhaps I would spend the entire hour chasing my thoughts around in circles. I have practiced meditation and yoga on and off for a few years now, however I have never been able to sit in meditative bliss for more than 10-15mins, so an hour seemed a little daunting.


When I hopped in the tank I started out with a blow up pillow under my neck to provide a bit of support as my body adjusted to its weightlessness. Some soothing music played for the first 10 or so minutes and during this time I kept my head above the water transitioning into a calm space, internally and externally. After the 10minutes were up and the music died off I removed the pillow and let my head sink into the water. What occurred over the next 50mins felt somewhat like a dream state. My mind would wander into thoughts, worries, “to do lists” and then it would stop mid-thought, dissolve and I was brought back to the stillness of my body, the silence and seemingly expansive darkness that surrounded me. I felt as though I was suspended in space with unlimited space below and above my body. I scanned my body for any sign of tension, any tiny piece of my being that was tensed, knotted, clenching or tangled, however not one part of me held such a sensation.

My mind would, every now and then, then start to wander again and I wondered how long I had been floating, was it 5mins or 30mins? Had I at any stage fallen asleep? There was a sense of haziness/nostalgia about my experience, like when you wake from an afternoon nap and you have heightened awareness about your surroundings, but you’re unable to get your mind to focus on any task that requires a logical sequence of thoughts.


After what felt like a long time, and a short time concurrently, the peaceful music recommenced, and a soft jet of water washed around the top of my head. I emerged from the tank feeling light, each step soft, each breathe deep, each sensation amplified. I took a shower in the room dimly lit by a salt lamp and it was the most blissful shower of my life. I was 100% present, calm & relaxed. I felt every drop of water run over my body and I wanted to stay in that state, in that moment as long as I possibly could. That feeling of presence, bliss and connection, to yourself and to your surroundings, is what will have me heading back for another fix. I highly recommend giving it a go!

How to use ‘zero waste living’ principles to reduce your waste production

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UP UNTIL RECENTLY I HAVEN’T BEEN ONE TO REALLY THINK TOO MUCH ABOUT MY ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT, NOT BECAUSE I DIDN’T CARE, BUT BECAUSE…. WELL I DIDN’T THINK DEEPLY ENOUGH ABOUT THE GRAVITY OF THE SITUATION, HOW MUCH WASTE I ACTUALLY PRODUCE ON A DAILY BASIS OR HOW SIMPLE IT WOULD BE TO REDUCE THE NEGATIVE IMPACT MY LIFESTYLE HAS ON THE PLANET


As a new year has started to unfold and I started packing up my belongings to relocate for my new job in a new city, I became consciously aware of how much I had accumulated over the years. Things that I’d doubled, even tripled up on, things that served no purpose, things that I’d bought on a whim with impulsive desire or false sense of need, without much thought about its impact on the environment. Many of these things, have been sitting in my cupboards untouched for years.

Moving into a new stage of my life, having an income and the power to change the way I live has inspired me to ensure that I am living responsibly and in alignment with my values. This eagerness motivated me to look into the intriguing Zero Waste lifestyle that is being embraced by an increasing number of individuals around the world and inspired me to learn and integrate simple, yet effective, lifestyle changes to decrease my overall waste production and ecological footprint.

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WHY SHOULD YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT AND HOW MUCH YOU ARE CONSUMING?

IN Australia the average individual produces 690kg of trash per year and according to Clean up Australia the amount of trash that goes into landfill each year is enough to cover the state of Victoria – how sickeneing! If we all became a little more conscious of what we consume, how it is packaged and make small changes to incorporate the 5 R’s - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Rot – into our everyday lives, over our lifetime we could each significantly reduce the amount of waste and pollution that ends up not only in landfill but in our rivers, creeks, bushes, forests, streets, air, ocean and the stomachs of our wildlife.

Calculate the impact that your lifestyle has ecologically over on the WWF website.

Inspiring right? I sure thought so….

HOW TO USE ‘ZERO WASTE LIVING’ PRINCIPLES TO REDUCE YOUR WASTE PRODUCTION -

According to Zero Waste Life advocates like Bea Johnson, whose family of four generate only a quart-size jar of waste per year, living a zero waste lifestyle is certainly possible. Bea and her family have been living waste free since 2008 and Bea states that there are 5Rs that guide success in achieving such a lifestyle: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Rot.


Refuse what you do not need - printed advertisements, plastic straw in your beverage, receipts, paper bills, freebies that you’ll never use, flyers, that third bottle of moisturiser that you’re tempted to buy because it smells nice …


Reduce what you do need - think about what is important to you, become a mindful consumer and eliminate items that you do not deem necessary to live a happy & functional life.


Reuse what you consume - Think about the quality of the products you are consuming – are you purchasing things that you will be able to enjoy for months even years to come? Or are they single use, throw away items? Go for quality over quantity, spend more to consume less which will, inevitably, result in you spending less money in the long run and producing less waste.


Recycle what you cannot Refuse, Reduce or Reuse - Select items that come in recyclable packaging and if its something you cannot live without or find a way to reuse then put it in the recycling bin. In Australia items labelled with the recycle symbol and any number 1 – 6 can be put in the recycle bins, whilst 7 and EPS can not. For more information check out the Recycle Right website.

Rot (Compost) the rest - Invest in a compost bin; varying types are available for different living arrangements – tips and fact sheets are available on the Recycling Near You website. Some cities even offer compost drop offs where you can take your scraps to a community compost unit where it can then be used as compost to nourish community gardens. There are also websites, such as the one run by the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network, that map the community gardens in your state so if you’re not keen on having your own compost unit you can check out if there are any community gardens near you that have compost drop offs.


The notion of ZERO waste production may seem a bit unattainable or challenging for some (myself included considering my line of work) but lets face it, the integrity of our ecosystem relies on our ability to make responsible, sustainable and environmentally conscious choices and I feel there is a lot to be learnt from this dedicated and rather impressive way of life.
Lost as to where to begin? Start by making these 5 simple changes, to reduce the negative impact that your lifestyle has on the environment;
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1. BUY FROM BULK BINS & USE GLASS JARS FOR STORAGE
I love reusing coconut oil jars and saurkraut jars as they are a great size for nuts, seeds and grains. It also makes all of your staples easy to see and store. Also taking your own jars or cloth bags to stores where you can buy bulk products reduces the amount of single use wasteful packaging enormously. Making this change will also encourage you to eat better – reducing your consumption of pre-packaged foods and encouraging healthier fresher choices. This BULK FINDER allows you to search for stores that stock bulk items that can be purchased sans packaging. A beautiful friend, Colour by Courtney, also suggested using old candle pots/jars as make-up brush holders – which I got straight onto after receiving her tip.


 

2. GET ON THE FOOD PREP TRAIN -

Food prep can be a life saver, preventing hunger fueled store bought lunches which are generally heavily packaged and 90% of the time nowhere near as healthy as it would have been had you made it. PLUS food prepping ensures you utilise the food that you spent your hard earned dollars on when you did your groceries, preventing it from going to waste and/or spoiling. Its best to plan what you are going to make for the week before you do your shopping or to play master chef and use up what you already have in the fridge, pantry or freezer to ensure you don’t end up with a heap of produce needing to be thrown away. If you like to eat out every now and then cook enough meals to cover 70-80% of the required snacks/lunches/dinners for the week, this way you have a bit of leeway if you decide to head out or if you have a craving for something else entirely.


 

3. GET YOURSELF A REUSABLE COFFEE CUP

This change was the first to take place for me after I began thinking more about my consumption and waste production. With each coffee I ordered the guilt deepened and I realised that there was a simple solution – use my own keep cup. I mean had I not purchased it years before with the intention of using it?! Now it pretty much lives in my handbag. A bonus is that not only are you stopping the disposable coffee cups from piling up in your car slash creating unnecessary trash BUT a lot of places will give you a small discount or size upgrade for using your own cup.


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4. USE CLOTH/TOTE BAGS INSTEAD OF PLASTIC BAGS 

This one is massive, with Aussies using up to 4 billion plastic bags per year, and a saddening number not even making it to landfill but ending up in our oceans and harming our wildlife. This is one that requires a bit of getting used to, for me anyway as I am just terrible at having them on me when I need them. Purchasing a carry bag that folds up into itself can be an easy way to carry one with you in your handbag for those impromptu trips to the store. Stash some in your car, carry one in your handbag or if you are only buying a few items… just carry them! Buying fresh fruit and vegetables that are free from packaging is a smart move also – eg. go for the loose zucchini’s instead of the ones on a tray that have been cling-wrapped in place, its a lot of unnecessary plastic that just ends up in landfill.


 

5. REPLACE TAMPONS WITH A MENSTRUAL CUP

After receiving many recommendations over the years I have finally decided to get on-board with the menstrual cup. By using a menstrual cup in place of pads or tampons you can spare landfill thousands of sanitary items and save yourself dollars over the course of your life. A cup, which can be left insitu for up to 12hours and is made from medical grade hypoallergenic silicon, costs about $50 and can last for up to 10years. When you consider how much you spend on tampons in a year you’ll quickly realise its an investment that pays for itself. JuJu, an Australian owned and TGA approved company, have a users guide  on their website containing useful information about how to insert, remove, clean, store and disinfect the menstrual cup.

OTHER THINGS YOU COULD TRY -

- Introduce meat free Monday
- Ride or walk, where possible
- Carpool, when able
- Switch from individual tea bags to loose leaf tea
- Get an egg timer and aim to have shorter showers
- Switch from coffee pods to a coffee peculator
- Learn to store your fruit, vegetables and herbs properly to extend their fridge life
- Utilise scraps and leftovers instead of throwing them away

Sarah Wilson has some great tips for the last two points in her book Simplicious

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

If you want to know more or integrate other changes Going Zero Waste, Trash is for Tossers, & Zero Waste Nerd have some great tips for zero waste alternatives and 30 day guides/challenges to inspire and empower you to take steps towards slashing your trash quota. Suggestions include researching how to make products such as your own toothpaste, washing detergent and skin care products, buying pre-loved goods, using rags made from old clothes in place of paper towel, switching to biodegradable toilet paper and using appliances, containers, utensils & straws made from recycled glass, wood, metal or biodegradable materials in place of “single use” or plastic items that breakdown over time and are said to release potentially harmful chemicals into our food. Live Zero Waste also goes so far as to offer mentoring, tips and personal check-ins for those wanting to pledge to go 1 day, 1 month or even 1 year waste free.


Have something to add or contribute to this topic? Please share your thoughts, tips, resources and/or recommendations for reducing waste in the comments!

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Golden Mylk

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Golden Mylk
Dairy Free. Gluten Free. Vegan.

This golden mylk is the perfect anti inflammatory beverage to warm you up and leave you feeling satisfied.  Once you have taken it off the heat for a few minutes it will thicken to resemble the consistency of custard or Italian hot chocolate (mine does anyway). This recipe will make two small cups, however let me warn you, you will probably end up consuming the whole batch yourself. I do, every single time. So satisfying and so addictive.

Ingredients:
400 ml coconut milk
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of cinnamon
½ tsp of nutmeg
2 cloves
1 star anise
1 tsp of grated ginger
1 tbsp of a sweetener of your choice – rice malt syrup, honey, maple syrup.
½ vanilla bean (or ½ tsp of vanilla essence)
Good grind of pepper
Optional – Sprinkle of chilli

Method: 
Place coconut milk, spices and ginger in to a pot on the stove top. Slice the vanilla bean stick down the center and scrape the seeds into the coconut milk mixture before putting the rest of the stick in. Simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10mins to allow the spices to infuse he coconut milk. Turn off the heat, still in your sweetener and allow the mixture to sit and thicken for a couple of minutes before serving.

ENJOY!

 

Golden Mylk

Leafy Leek Risotto

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Leafy Leek Risotto
Dairy Free. Gluten Free. Vegan.
(Serves 3-4)

Who doesn’t love a bit of rizz?! This recipe was the result of an attempt to use up the remaining vegetables  from my veggie draw. The leeks, silverbeet and kale was gifted to me by my mother straight from the garden. Feel free to choose whatever leafy greens tickle your fancy for this recipe. If you don’t have green beans you could use peas in their place. The nori is also not 100% necessary if its not your cup of tea, but I like what I adds to the dish.

Ingredients:
1/2 large onion
1 leek
1 tsp of garlic
2 cups of arborio rice
1 litre of stock
1 cup of water
3/4 cup of diced green beans
3 cups of shredded leafy greens of your choice
(I chose spinach, kale, silverbeet and bok choy)
1 handful of pepitas
1 torn up nori sheet (seaweed)
1 ribboned carrot
1 tbsp of coconut oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Optional; parmesan cheese or cheese alternative

Method:

Boil water and add stock cubes to make 1litre, stir until cubes have dissolved and set aside. Dice the onion, leek, green beans and leafy greens and ribbon the carrot with a vegetable peeler. Set the beans, leafy greens and carrot to the side and place the onion and leek in a fry pan, saute with garlic and some coconut oil. Once the leek and onion starts to soften and reduce in size add the arborio rice and stir to coat with remaining oil. With the pan on medium heat and add 1/2-1 cup of stock + one cup of leafy greens into the pan at a time, stirring until the stock has been absorbed, before adding another cup of water and greens.

Leafy Leek Rissoto
When you have used half of the stock, mix in the diced green beans, pepitas, salt & pepper, ribboned carrot and torn up nori sheet. Continue adding the stock 1/2-1cup at a time until all the stock has been absorbed by the rice. If at this point the rice is too nutty for your liking, add the extra cup of water and stir until all is absorbed.  And that’s it, you’re done!

ENJOY!

Chloe’s Peanut Butter Cups

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Chloe’s Peanut Butter Cups
Dairy Free. Gluten Free. Vegan.
(Makes 10 medium/large cups)

These delicious raw peanut butter cups are the perfect treat to satisfy a sweet tooth, gift a friend or serve up for dessert. You can use any type of nut butter as a filling, sprinkle nuts, seeds or fruit on top to make them look a bit fancy or stir a teaspoon of your favourite powder, such as lucuma, matcha or maca, into the chocolate mixture to give it a nutritional boost. If you don’t have buckwheat groats, 1 cup of almonds can be used instead of 1/2 cup almonds + 1/2 cup buckwheat. You can also choose to use a baking tin instead of molds and make this into a chocolate peanut butter slice.

Ingredients:
Base;
½ cup of activated buckwheat groats
½ cup of almonds
½ cup of desiccated coconut
½ cup of dates
1 tbsp of water

Chocolate;
1 cup of coconut oil
1 cup of rice malt syrup
1 cup of cacao powder
1 tsp pink himalayan salt

Filling;
100% Peanut Butter

Method:
Dice dates and place in a bowl with enough boiling water to cover the dates. Allow the dates to soak for 5mins. Scoop out 1 tbsp of the water that the dates were soaking in and put it into the food processor/blender along with the almonds, desiccated coconut and buckwheat. Drain the dates and add them to the food processor. Blend these ingredients until they start to form a thick chunky paste, it may be a bit crumbly but if you roll some of the mixture into a ball it should meld together reasonably well.

Scoop some of the mixture into each patty pan or silicon cupcake mold, and press it down firmly. It should bind together, looking almost like slightly chunky cookie dough. Pop 1 tsp of peanut butter (or more if desired) into each mold and smooth it down over the base. Place the molds into the freezer for 5mins while you make the chocolate.

Melt coconut oil and warm the rice malt syrup before combining them in a bowl with cacao powder and sea salt. Warming the rice malt syrup a little before adding it to the coconut oil will give you a bit more time to stir in the cacao powder and smooth out the lumps before it starts to solidify. Once the chocolate mixture is smooth remove the molds from the freezer and scoop some chocolate into each mold. 1-2 tbsp usually does the trick; however it will depend on the size of the molds you are using. Ensure that the peanut butter is covered with the chocolate and all will be fine. Place the molds back into the freezer for 10-15minutes and voila, they are ready to eat.

Store these in a container in the freezer for weeks or in the fridge for a few days. I tend to eat them straight from the freezer, chilled and DELICIOUS!

ENJOY!

Choc Banana Muffins

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Choc Banana Muffins
Dairy Free. Gluten Free. Makes approx 6 medium sized muffins. 

 

Ingredients:
1.5 cup of almond meal
1/4 cup of GF self raising flour
2 eggs
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of vanilla essence
1/2 cup of desiccated coconut
1 tbsp of maple syrup
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup of almond milk
50g dark chocolate (85%) – regular, dairy free or raw chocolate
pinch of sea salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees fan-forced.
Mash up a very ripe banana with a folk and set aside. Place eggs in a bowl and whisk adding the eggs, salt, spices, almond milk, vanilla essence and maple syrup as you go. Add the mashed banana into this wet mixture along with coconut, almond meal and self raising flour, mix/fold ingredients into until combined. Roughly chop or shave your chocolate of choice and fold it into the wet mixture.
Pour the mixture into muffin trays and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the muffins start to turn golden brown, the muffin springs back when you push on the top of it or a skewer come out clean when placed into the middle of the muffin.

ENJOY!

Dark Chocolate & Banana Muffins

Sundried Tomato Dip

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Sundried Tomato Dip
Vegan. Dairy Free. Gluten Free. Fructose Free. FODMAP friendly.

 

Ingredients:
1 tbsp of garlic infused olive oil
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1/2 cup of unsalted peanuts
1 tbsp of tahini
1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
A good whack of fresh or dried basil (I used about 1/2 tbsp of home dried basil)
1 tbsp of coconut milk
pinch of chilli

Method:

Place all ingredients in a food processor, whizz it up until its all combined and your done. Easy right?!
If its too runny, add some extra peanuts and/or sun-dried tomatoes.
Perfect to have with veggie sticks or rice crackers for a FODMAP friendly snack.

ENJOY!

Sundried Tomato Dip

Buckwheat & Chia Porridge

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Buckwheat & Chia Porridge
Vegan. Dairy Free. Gluten Free. Fructose Free. FODMAP friendly.

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of buckwheat
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1 cup of water
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
2 tbsp of rice malt syrup
1/2 tsp of vanilla essense
1/2 cup of almond milk

Blueberries
Raspberries
Coconut
Almond milk

Method:

Place water, almond milk, buckwheat, chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla essence and rice bran syrup into a saucepan on medium heat. Stir occasionally for 8-10mins until the liquid has been absorbed and the buckwheat and chia seeds have swollen. Pour porridge mixture into a bowl and serve with almond milk, blueberries, raspberries and coconut.

 

 

ENJOY!

Buckwheat & Chia Porridge

FODMAP Friendly Choc Maca Cookies

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FODMAP Friendly Choc Maca Cookies
Vegan. Dairy Free. Gluten Free. Fructose Free.
Makes 12

These delicious choc maca cookies are super quick, easy and moreish. If you don’t have cacao nibs you can use roughly chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips (raw, dairy free or regular – its up to you). By using dark chocolate you will satisfy your sweet tooth faster and will not have to go through the whole batch to get your fix. If you like your cookies crunchy use 2 cups of almond meal, if you like them slight chewy use 1.5, they may seem a bit oily when you roll them into balls to flatten on the baking paper but do not fear, they come out a treat.

Ingredients:

1.5-2 cups of almond meal
3 tbsp of coconut oil
3 tbsp of rice malt syrup
1 tsp of vanilla essense
1/4 tsp of rock or sea salt
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of baking powder
1 tbsp of cacao powder
3 tbsp of cacao nibs
2 tsp of maca powder

Method:

Preheat oven to 170 degrees and cover a large baking tray with some baking paper.

Combine all ingredients ensuing the mixture comes together well when compressed. If you find the mixture too sticky add a little extra almond meal or if its too crumbly some extra coconut oil.

fodmap friendly choc maca cookies


Roll mixture into “bliss ball” sized portions and flatten with a folk that has been run under warm water. Place in the oven for 15mins before removing from the oven and set aside to cool.

They will seem rather soft when they first come out of the oven but don’t worry, they will firm up as they cool.

 

ENJOY!

Zucchini & Pepita Bruschetta

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Zucchini & Pepita Bruschetta
Vegetarian.
Serves 2

Ingredients: Quantity of each element used is up to the discretion of the diner

Sourdough
Pepita’s
Meredith goats cheese
Zucchini ribbons
Cherry tomatoes
Avocado – mashed with shredded basil
Himalayan sea salt
This delicious bruschetta is super simple and bound to satisfy the taste buds.

Method:

Slice sourdough (or toast GF bread) and then spread with smashed avocado & basil then top with ribboned zucchini, goats cheese, sliced cherry tomatoes and pepitas and sprinkle with sea salt.

 

ENJOY!

Bruschetta

Rejuvenating Green Juice

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Rejuvenating Green Juice
Vegetarian. Vegan. Dairy Free.. Gluten Free
Makes approx 1litre

Ingredients:
1 x pear
1x apple
1x lemon
1/2 cucumber
10 large Cos lettuce leaves
1/3 pineapple
1/2 bunch of mint
3 x stalks of celery
1 scoop of spirulina or supergreen powder
250 ml of coconut water
handful of ice

Method:

Slice apple and pear – removing the cores, remove the skin from the lemon and pineapple and wash celery, mint, cucumber and cos lettuce then cut celery into manageable pieces.

Feed apple, pear, pineapple, lemon, cos lettuce, mint, cucumber, celery and mint through the juicer.

Once juicing is complete, pour the juice into a blender and combine with coconut water, ice cubes and spirulina or super green powder.

ENJOY!

green juice

 

Chocolate coated Quinoa & Coconut Cookies

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Chocolate coated Quinoa & Coconut Cookies
Vegetarian. Low FODMAP. Gluten Free
Makes approx 16

Ingredients:
3 tbsp of Natvia natural sweetner – baking mix
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp if cardamom
1 cup of coconut flour
1 cup of quinoa flakes  (or 1/2 ground flaxseed + 1/2 quinoa flakes)
4 tbsp of rice malt syrup or coconut sugar
60ml of coconut oil
2 eggs
85g of butter
1/2 tsp of vanilla essence

Icing:
125g of natvia natural sweetener icing mix
1 tbsp of du chocolat - sugar free drinking chocolate
1 tbsp of cacao powder
60ml of melted coconut oil

chocolate coated spiced quinoa & coconut cookies

Method:

Place natvia, spices, melted coconut oil & butter, rice malt syrup, eggs & vanilla essence into a bowl and whisk until well combined.
Sift coconut flour, quinoa flakes and baking powder into the wet mixture and stir until the mixture forms a dough.
Roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls and squish the mixture onto a tray lined with baking paper then press down on the top of each cookie with a fork.
Place the cookies into a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees for 20mins, or until they start to brown.
Whilst the cookies are baking, melt the coconut oil and combine with the icing ingredients.
Once you have removed the cookies from the oven allow then to cool for 15mins before coating the underside with icing. You could even lather up a cookie with icing and then stick two together, up to you!
Place the cookies back on some baking paper, with the chocolate side facing upwards and pop them into the freezer for 5mins or until the icing has gone hard.
Then Voila, you’re done.

 

ENJOY!

Essential Oils – Utilizing the “life blood” of plants for enhanced wellbeing

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There has been a lot of hype around essential oils over the last couple of years. Many think they are new and trendy, but in reality, they’ve been around for a long time. We actually “use” essential oils a lot in our everyday lives. They are used to flavor foods and can be found in things like toothpaste, mouthwash, perfumes, skin care products, and much more. Not all oils are created equal though so it’s important to research the purity of the essential oils you’re considering to make sure you’re getting a therapeutic grade oil and not one that’s been extracted using chemicals or other harsh processes.
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So what are they exactly? Essential oils are the fragrant, aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots flowers and other parts of the plant. They are distilled from the “life blood” of plants and contain the plant’s own immunity, hormones, and scents. They are typically extracted using a steam distillation process that keeps all properties of the oil intact, but cold pressing can also be used as a means of extraction. Either way, the essential oils are far more powerful than the botanicals they were extracted from.

 

There are 3 common ways to use essential oils:

  • Topically – you can use the oils neat or with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and apply directly to the skin. The bottoms of your feet are a great place to start.
  • Diffuse/Inhale – whether you use a diffuser or inhale the oil (directly from bottle or by placing a drop in your hands, rub together and inhale), this is a powerful way to receive the health benefits of essential oils
  • Internally – certain oils are safe to ingest and can make a great addition to cooking as well. It will generally be listed on the bottle if they are safe for internal use.

 

Each bottle contains a variety of uses, but all of them promote overall health and wellness in some way. For example, lavender is known for its calming properties, but it also supports the skin and can be used in many DIY beauty products, is gentle enough for babies (diluted), and a great one to use in laundry (put a drop or two on wool dryer balls or make a linen spray). Peppermint is uplifting and refreshing, supports the respiratory and digestive systems, promotes concentration, and can also help relieve tension after a long day. These are only a few of examples, but the versatility of oils is truly remarkable.
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Here are a few additional tips for using essential oils:

  • While some essential oils are gentle and can be applied neat, others should be diluted with a carrier oil, like coconut or grapeseed oil so always keep this on hand. You should always dilute when applying to children.
  • Plastic and essential oils don’t mix so if you make DIYs or put a drop of lemon in your water, make sure you’re using a glass container.
  • “Roller Blends” are a convenient way to use essential oils. You can purchase 10ml glass bottles with roller tops online and use a mix of essential oils and carrier oil for easy application. (e.g. “sleepy roller” = 10 drops lavender and fill to the top with carrier oil, apply to bottom of feet before bed)

Oils can seem overwhelming to people at first, but they have honestly simplified our lives. When one bottle of oils can be used many different ways, that translates to less. Less products. Less waste. Less chemicals. Less to think about and learn. As I’ve switched our store-bought beauty products for DIYs, our candles for diffusers, and our medications for oils, we’ve begun living a life of simplicity and wellness. Essential oils allow us to gain their therapeutic benefits in various ways each and every day throughout our home, whether we put them on our bodies or on our countertops. I live in peace knowing our environment is contributing to our overall health and wellness by working preventatively in our everyday use and giving us the opportunity to address our unique physical and emotional needs as they come up.

 

Raspberry & Chocolate Cupcakes

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Raspberry & Chocolate Cupcakes
Vegetarian. Low FODMAP. Gluten Free. Dairy Free
Serves 11-12

Cupcakes:
2 tbsp of Granulated Natvia – baking pack
1/2 cup of coconut flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
2 tbsp of cacao
5x eggs
1/2 cup of almond milk

1 cup of frozen raspberries
45g of dark sugar free chocolate

Icing;
125g of Natvia Icing sugar
1/2 tsp of vanilla essense
45ml of vanilla almond milk

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Method:

Place all of the cupcakes ingredients, minus the raspberries and sugar free dark chocolate, in a large mixing bowl.
With an electric mixer, or wooden spoon if you don’t have a mixer, blend all of the ingredients until you have a smooth chocolate batter.
Stir through the frozen raspberries and the finely chopped chocolate chunks.
Pour the mixture into lined or greased muffin tins and place in a pre-heated oven for 35min at 160degrees.
Whilst the cupcakes are in the oven combine the icing mixture, almond milk and vanilla essence, stirring until smooth.
After 30-35mins poke a stewer into the center  of the cupcakes and if it comes out clean then they are ready to be removed from the oven.
Pop the cupcakes out of the tin and allow then to cool before applying icing to the cupcakes then top them with fresh strawberries & coconut.

Keep them in the fridge to ensure the strawberry stays fresh.

 

ENJOY!

Thai Yellow Curry

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Thai Yellow Curry
Vegetarian. Vegan. Dairy Free. Low FODMAP. Gluten Free
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
120g zucchini
120g carrot
150g sweet potato
80g broccoli
80g red capsicum
2 handful of spinach or leafy greens
1 cup of quinoa – 2 cups of water – sprinkling of salt
1/2 cup of crushed cashews

400ml coconut milk
1/2 cup of water
2 tbsp of garlic infused olive oil
1 tsp of ginger
1/2 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of ground cumin seeds
1 tsp of basil paste
1 tsp of lime juice
1/4 tsp of crushed chili flakes
Himalayan rock salt

Thai Yellow Curry

Method:

Dice carrot & sweet potato and place in the steamer until they have started to soften (3mins in the microwave). Dice the remaining vegetables and place them in a bowl to the side.

Place ginger, 1 tbsp of the garlic infused olive oil and the basil paste in a frying pan on low heat until fragrant – ensure you stir the mixture so it doesn’t spit or burn.

Add coconut milk, spices and chili into the frying pan and stir until the mixture is well combined and starts to simmer.
Add the raw chopped vegetables, partially steamed carrot and sweet potato, leafy greens, 1/2 cup of water, a pinch of rock salt and the crushed cashews into the fry pan and let the mixture simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Whilst the curry mixture is simmering, rinse the quinoa before placing it in a saucepan with a pinch of salt and 2 cups of water. Allow the quinoa to cook on low-medium heat for 10-15mins or until it has absorbed sufficient water to take the crunchiness out of the seed.

Once the quinoa is done, drain the water and you’re ready to serve up your curry!

 

ENJOY!

Smoothie Bowl

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Smoothie Bowl
Vegetarian. Vegan. Dairy Free. Gluten Free
Serves 2

Ingredients:
Smoothie bowl;
1/3 cup of coconut milk
2x frozen bananas
1 cup of frozen blueberries
2/3 cup of coconut water
Optional extras;
2x sachets of Proplenish Marine Collagen
Acai Berry Powder

Topping suggestions;
Loving Earth caramelized buckinis
Coconut flakes
Hemp seeds
Fresh diced banana
Passion fruit pulp
Frozen berries
Goji berries
Granola (find my recipe for Spiced Granola Two Ways here)

Method:
Place all ingredients in a high power blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend until all the ingredients are combined. Use the tamper to push the frozen fruit down into the blades. The finished product will be thick, like the consistency of ice-cream. Top with whatever you see fit – I love caramelized buckinis, chopped fresh banana, coconut flakes, passionfruit and hemp seeds or homemade granola.

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ENJOY!

Chili & Chia Vegetable Ragout

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Chili & Chia Vegetable Ragout
Vegetarian. Vegan. Dairy Free. Low FODMAP. Gluten Free
Serves 3

Ingredients:
Potato Mash;
500ml water
1/3 tsp turmeric
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup of almond milk
300g of sweet potato
300g of potato

Ragout
1/3 tsp chopped coriander
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1/3 ground cumin seeds
1/4 tsp of ground chili
2 tbsp of chia seeds
1 carrot
1/2 zucchini
1 tomato
1/4 capsicum
1/2 head of broccoli
3 cubes of chopped frozen spinach
1 tsp of veggie stock in 250ml of water
2/3 cup of tomato paste

ragout

Method:

Dice carrot, zucchini, tomato and capsicum and place in a saucepan with 250ml of water, vegetable stock, broccoli florets, chia seeds, herbs, spices, tomato paste and spinach cubes then let the mixture saute for 20minutes.

Whilst the ragout is cooking place the potatoes in a separate saucepan with 500ml of water. Cover the potatoes and let them boil for 15mins, once you can easily insert a fork into the potato, drain the water.

Add almond milk, cinnamon & turmeric to the potato and blend until smooth. Once the vegetables in the ragout have softened and chia seeds have swollen remove from the heat.

Serve the vegetable ragout on top of the spiced mash potato and bam….

 

ENJOY!

Spiced Vanilla Porridge

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Spiced Vanilla Porridge
Vegetarian. Vegan. Dairy Free.

Ingredients:
Porridge;
2/3 cup of quick oats
1 tbsp of chia seeds
2/3 cup of coconut milk
2/3 cup of water
1/3 cup of rice malt syrup
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
Less than a 1/4 tsp of cardamom
Less than a 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
2/3 tsp of vanilla essence

Suggested toppings;
Dried Mulberries
Frozen raspberries
Almond milk
Coconut flakes
Maple syrup

Method:
Add all liquids, oats, chia seeds, spices, vanilla essence and rice bran syrup into a saucepan, applying medium heat and stirring occasionally for 5-8mins until the liquid has been absorbed and the oats and chia seeds have swollen.

Pour porridge mixture into a bowl and serve with almond milk and your choice of toppings, I highly recommend raspberries, coconut flakes, dried mulberries & maple syrup.

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ENJOY!

Lemon Chili Rice Noodles

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Lemon Chili Rice Noodles
Vegetarian. Gluten Free. Vegan. Dairy Free.

Ingredients:
1 small ribboned zucchini (use a vegetable peeler to create long thin slices of zucchini)
1 cup of peas
½ a head of broccoli
1/3 cup of sundried tomatoes
¾ cup of diced green beans
2 handfuls of spinach leaves
2 tbsp of pepitas
2 tbsp of hemp seeds
2 tbsp of olive oil
juice of 1 ½ lemons
1/3 tsp of chili flakes
1 packet of rice noodles or Slendier Fettucine
½ avocado

Lemon Chili Greens & rice noodles

Method:

Steam broccoli, peas and green beans for 3mins or until heated and slightly soft. Add spinach leaves and ribboned zucchini to the steamer and allow the leaves to wilt.

Rice Noodles; In the meantime boil 1.5 litres of water and place the rice noodles in a large pot or cooking bowl with the boiled water for 8-10mins or until the noodles are al dente, before draining the water.
OR if using Slendier Fettucine; drain liquid from the packet, place the fettucine in hot water for 1 minute before draining the water.

Once the spinach leaves have wilted drain the water from the steamer and mix the vegetables, lemon juice, olive oil, chili flakes, pepitas and sundried tomatoes with the rice noodles/fettucine.

Serve topped with avocado and hemp seeds. This light but satisfying dish is perfect warm or cold as a side salad or as a dish in itself.

 

ENJOY!

Chunky Vegetable & Quinoa Soup

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Chunky Vegetable & Quinoa Soup
Vegetarian. Gluten Free. Vegan. Dairy Free..

Ingredients:
220g of diced tomatoes
100g of broccoli stalk
200g of zucchini
200g of cauliflower
70g of celery
2-3 potatoes
1 tin of chickpeas
2 big handfuls of shredded silverbeet
1 tsp of turmeric
2 heaped tsp of Vata Balance spice blend
1/2 tsp of curry powder
2 tsp of vegetable stock in 4 cups of water
1 heaped tsp of ginger
1 cup of quinoa cooked in 2 cups of water
Salt, pepper & chilli to taste

Method:

Dice all the vegetables and place them in a big pot with vegetable stock, spices, salt, pepper and chilli, put the pot on the stove on low heat, with the lid on until it starts simmering.

Place quinoa & water in a saucepan and cook for 5-10mins until all the water has been absorbed by the quinoa.

Once vegetables have started to soften, add the cooked quinoa and chickpeas into the big pot and simmer for a further 10-15mins.

Remove from the heat and voila its ready to serve.

Chunky Vegetable & Quinoa Soup

ENJOY!

Mental Health First Aid; How to be a support person

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Mental Health First Aid
Everyone deserves to feel loved and supported, and everyone deserves to feel empowered to help the people they care about. So here is what I know about being a support person for someone who is having a hard time.


Academically, this information is based on what I have learnt from
studying Mental Health as part of my degree, completing a Mental Health First Aid course and undertaking a mental health placement in an acute psychiatric setting.

Personally, this information is based on my experience with my own mental health issues of depression and anxiety and also from my experience of supporting the people I care about through times of hardship.

We know that good health is not merely the absence of physical disease. Health encompasses not only physical well-being but also mental well-being. It has been concluded that mental illnesses rank as the 3rd largest burden on disease in Australia, after cancer and heart disease.

With 1 in 4 people suffering from a mental illness at some point in their lives, I am almost certain that each of you reading this article will, in some way shape or form, have had an experience with mental illness, whether it be a friend, family member or even yourself, who has been touched by the debilitating grip of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, psychotic episodes, substance abuse or even suicide.

Unfortunately due to stigma, shame, lack of understanding and social pressures, a lot of individuals, both young and old, face the terrifying face of mental illness alone.

For this reason it is incredibly important that we, as support people, as friends, siblings, parents, teachers, partners, children and members of the greater community, are able to identify, approach and assist those who are struggling, to ensure that no-one suffers in silence. For the purpose of this article, and because the scope of Mental Health is so large I am going to focus on providing support for those dealing with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

>>>>>>Please note if you are concerned that the individual is at risk of harming themselves or others, if their behaviour is very disturbing to others or if the person is incredibly distressed it is important that you seek immediate help by calling your emergency contact line – 000, your nearest triage center or lifeline - 13 11 14 <<<<<<
friendship

1. So first things first, how do you approach someone you are worried about?

- What are you going to say? It’s a good idea to have a think about what you are going to say to your friend, family member or colleague before you approach them. What are your concerns? What have you noticed? Why are you reaching out? These are questions you need to ask yourself before you go to the individual, to prepare you to be the support person. Once you know the answer to these question you will be better able to provide honest support and communicate your concerns effectively.

- How are you going to say it? It’s also a good idea to think about how you are going to say it.  You want the individual to know that you are worried about them, that you care about them, and that you genuinely want to help. Try not to address the situation in a way that implies they have a “problem” or that their thoughts, beliefs or feeling are false, “crazy” or unjustified. Instead focus on what you have observed and state why that worries you. Refrain from playing the blame game, even if the person has done something that has upset you, don’t try and make them feel guilty about it, your aim as the support person is to get to the source of the issue and assist them in gaining the necessary help.

- Do some research: do a bit of reading on what it is you think they may be struggling with. There are hundreds of reputable mental health websites out there filled with information designed to help you get a handle on mental health (I have listed some resources at the bottom of this article)

- Choose an appropriate setting: Choose an appropriate time and place to have the conversation, it may seem like common sense but if you’re addressing a topic that can be quite sensitive and potentially make the individual feel very vulnerable you need to be somewhere that they feel safe to open up, so ensure you have privacy, that they feel comfortable and that you have sufficient time to approach the situation. There is no point planning on having the conversation with someone if you only have 5mins between appointments or if someone else is meeting up with you shortly.

- Avoid an intervention style conversation: Suggest doing something that will help make the situation a little less daunting. Go for a walk, shoot some hoops, grab a coffee, go for a drive. By approaching the situation in this way you are both going to feel more comfortable than if you were to sit down in front of them and try to have an “intervention” style conversation.

- Be non-judgemental and give your undivided attention; Once you have breached the topic with the individual its important to give them your undivided attention. Set your distractions aside (phone away) and let them know that you have set aside time to listen to whatever is going on and then do so non-judgmentally. During this time refrain from cutting them off, jumping to conclusions or making judgments about their situation.

- Ask questions to gain a better understand of their situation and to show that you are listening to what is being said. Before you start offering advice and resources it is important that the individual is able to express themselves. You want them to feel as though they can vent and talk through the situation before you try and put a band aid on it.

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2. How do I give appropriate support and information?

- Once the person has felt listened to, they will be more willing to listen to advice or resources that you may suggest. At this point that research you did into mental illness, online resources, help hotlines and local support groups will come in handy. If you are not the greatest online resource finder, consider calling lifeline yourself, explain the situation to one of the operators and ask them to share with you the most appropriate resources in your area.

- Provide emotional support by trying to empathize with their situation. By identifying how certain aspects of their situation might make them feel eg. isolated, confused or misunderstood, you are connecting and showing that you are trying to understand what they are going through.

- Slow and sweet; Be patient and kind even if the behaviour is not reciprocated. It is important that you make it clear to the individual that you will not give up on or abandon them even if their situation is complex.

- Offer assistance; Ask the person if there is anything that you can do to assist them and make life a little less overwhelming. After you have listened to them non-judgmentally and shown that you genuinely want to help they are more likely to accept offers of assistance.

If talking things through with you, and checking in regularly with the person isn’t enough, it’s important that you encourage the person to seek appropriate professional help.

You are not expected to be able to fix all of their problems, the purpose of being a support person is to connect, to try and understand and to let the person know that they are not alone. Sometimes the individual will not want any help, other than the discussion you have had, but in the case that they do, here are some helpful resources and ideas to keep in mind.


- In Australia you can go to your GP and have a Mental Health Plan created which will enable anyone to have access to 10 sessions with a psychologist of your choice for a subsidized rate. This first step can sometimes be the hardest, so if seeing a psychologist is something the individual is interested in, offer to go to the GP with them, help book an appointment, research psychologists in their area or locate online resources that detail different professional options.

- The QPR – Question, Persuade and Refer - Website offers a free online suicide prevention training course which takes about an hour to complete and it covers warning signs of suicide, how to apply QPR and how to offer hope and support. hhtp://suicideprevention.salvos.org.au/training/qpr-suicide-prevention

- THIS WAY UP is run by the Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression in Sydney. It offers free information on depression and anxiety disorders and brief online courses designed to help a person learn to overcome these disorders – www.thiswayup.org.au/self-help

- myCompass - Internet & mobile self-help program provided by the Black Dog Institute designed to help people monitor feelings and behaviours that they may be having trouble with and offers modules that can be completed to help them gain the skills to better manage – www.mycompass.org.au

- Reach Out - AMAZING website, offering great advice, information & tools – http://au.reachout.com/
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3. Resources for depression, anxiety & suicidal thoughts

Beyond Blue – www.beyondblue.org.au
Black Dog Institute – www.blackdoginstitute.org.au
BluePages – http://bluepages.anu.edu.au
Lifeline 24-hour counselling – 13 11 14 – https://www.lifeline.org.au/Get-Help/
Mens line Australia – for men with relationship or family concerns – 1300 78 99 78
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
Victoria Mental Health Services A-Z – http://www.health.vic.gov.au/mentalhealth/atoz.ht
take home

Take home tips;

1. – Create an action plan, that the person is comfortable with, give them a variety of options

2. – Read up on the issue before you approach them, especially if you haven’t experienced the issue before

3. – Think about what you’re going to say and how you are going to say it before you speak with them

4. – Offer to go to the GP with them to get a mental health plan created

5. – Environment, choice of words & body language will determine how likely the person is to open up to you so ensure privacy, convey open body language and ensure your tone of voice and choice of words show kindness and patience

6. – Don’t feed delusions, anxieties or fears however don’t dismiss them as being ridiculous.

7. – Don’t take on too much and try to tackle tricky issues alone. No-one expects you to be the super hero who counsels your friend back to mental clarity. Your job is to offer support, a non-judgemental ear and resources to ensure that the individual isn’t experiencing this inner, and sometimes outer turmoil alone.

Pumpkin & Tempeh Coconut Curry

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Pumpkin & Tempeh Coconut Curry
Vegetarian. Gluten Free. Vegan. Dairy Free..

Ingredients:
1 onion
1 tsp of ginger
1 tsp of garlic
1-2 tsp of coconut oil
1 tsp of turmeric
1/2 tsp of curry powder
1 cup of peas
600g pumpkin
120g green beans
300g of tempeh
200g broccoli
1/2 tsp of vegetable stock in 1 cup of water
1/2 tin of coconut milk
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
Salt, pepper & chilli to taste
Method:
Saute onion, ginger & garlic in coconut oil until fragrant. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl to the side.

Chop up pumpkin and place it in a fry pan with coconut oil and sprinkle with himalayan crystal salt (or any salt really but this one is my favourite) Saute the pumpkin until it has started to soften. Once is has started to soften add coconut milk, stock, spices, broccoli, beans, peas, salt, pepper chilli & onion mix back into the fry pan on low heat.

Chop tempeh into cubes and in a seperate pan, fry until its light brown on both sides. Add the tempeh into the pumpkin mix and along with the sunflower seeds.

Simmer on low heat for 10-15mins or until mixture has thickened to the desired consistency (as the pumpkin breaks down it will make the sauce a bit thicker). Serve with brown rice, naan bread & coconut yogurt.

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ENJOY!

Mini Vegetable Frittata’s

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Mini Vegetable Frittata
Vegetarian. Gluten Free.
Makes 12.

Ingredients:
1 small zucchini
1/2 cup of peas
drizzle of coconut oil
1 small onion
2 tsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp of coriander
4 eggs
1/4 tsp of ginger
1/4 tsp of turmeric
crumbled goats cheese
6 cherry tomatoes

Bite sized vegetable frittata

Method:

Dice onion and place in a fry pan with a drizzle of coconut oil and coconut sugar. Saute the onion until it starts to soften and brown. Add in the grated zucchini, frozen peas and coriander and stir over heat until combined.

Place eggs, turmeric, ginger and goats cheese into a separate bowl and whisk with a folk until combined.

Cut 12 squares of baking paper large enough to line the inside of a muffin tray (more or less depending on the size of your tray)

Place one heaped teaspoon of the vegetable mixture into each baking paper casing in the muffin tray and then top it up with the egg mixture. Give each one a little mix with your folk to ensure even distribution of contents and top with 1/2 a cherry tomato.

Pop in a moderately hot oven (180degrees) for 10mins or until the tops have started to brown and the egg is cooked.

Great for a quick lunch, snack or addition to your breakfast plate.

ENJOY!

Crunchy Coconut Chocolate

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Crunchy Coconut Chocolate
Vegetarian. Gluten Free. Dairy Free. Vegan. Refined Sugar-Free.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup of coconut oil
1/4 cup of coconut milk
1/4 cup of cacao powder
1/4 cup of crunchy peanut butter (use one that contains only 100% peanuts)
1/4 cup of buckinis, puffed rice or crushed mixed seeds
1-2 tbsp of maple syrup or rice malt syrup (to taste)
Method:

Melt coconut oil and then combine all the listed ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir until all the ingredients are well combined.

Line a small tin with baking paper and pour the mixture into the tin. Mixture should sit 1 – 2cm high in the tin. Alternatively the mixture can be poured into patty pans to set.

Place the tin or patty pans in the freezer for 30mins or until chocolate is hard.

Remove the chocolate from the tin by lifting the baking paper out of the tin and cut chocolate into squares.

Keep in the freezer or fridge until serving to keep the chocolate hard and chilled.

TIP: These vegan chocolates taste delicious topped with frozen raspberries.

Crunchy Coconut Chocolate

ENJOY!

Well-being Maintenance; Tips for your tool kit from 10 Game Changers

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Well-being is one of those terms that encompasses an array of elements. In order to have a solid sense of well-being we need to attend to the spiritual, emotional, social and physical elements of our being. By bringing awareness to the state of your inner and outer sanctums, and seeking out tools and resources that resonate with you, you place yourself in the best position to enhance your sense of well-being .


This week I have invited 10 passionate game changers, who inspire me daily, onto the blog, to share with us some wise words and pointers on various topics, covering everything from fitness to living intuitively .

I hope any of the following words that resonate with you, find a place in your personally tailored “Well-being Maintenance Tool Kit” and that you are able to draw upon these tips as you navigate your way to a wholehearted and holistic life.

Rachel MacDonald
Words on – Keeping a positive frame of mind

Rachel MacDonald – In Spaces Between
Writer, Mentor, Speaker & Spirited Creator

How do I stay positive and motivated? I’ve gotta say there’s no one trick, or single magic answer — instead, what I’ve found to be true in my life is that motivation is a by-product of committing, with unwavering devotion, to my well-being on EVERY level. And doing that as often as possible.

What that means is nourishing myself emotionally, through love and connection; mentally, by feeding my mind with knowledge that empowers me; physically, though intentional movement and energising food; and spiritually, through meditation and self-enquiry.

When I consistently dismantle everything in my life that seems burdensome and complicated, and invite in more of that which serves me AND helps me serve others, there’s an energetic force that guides my actions.And the funny thing is, I don’t have to force anything. It flows. Enthusiasm abounds.
What I know for sure is it’s easy to get inspired to lean into all life has to offer when you’re feeling really, freaking good.

 

Harry & Frase

Words on Nourishing yourself naturally.
Harriet & Fraser – Natural Harry

Holistic Health Coach & Carpenter
Facebook: www.facebook.com/naturalharry
Instagram: http://instagram.com/natural_harry

Website: http://naturalharry.com.au/

Nourishing yourself and taking the highest loving care of your body can sometimes seem so complex. The more we learn the more options and conflicting advice we receive. There is always a new fad materializing, a new amazing product appearing on the market with tempting packaging and tag lines to boot. I don’t know about you but in the very beginning of my wellness journey I found this totally overwhelming.

The more I read about nutrition, all the different dietary theories: Paleo, vegan, raw vegan, vegetarian, juice fasting, green smoothies, fermented food, super food powders, Alkaline etc. The more a reoccurring pattern stood out to me. And I was surprised to discover that it was actually quite simple and achievable:

Eat more plants
Drink more water
Eat wholefood wherever possible
Eliminate processed foods
Move your body daily
Regularly get more than 8 hrs sleep a night.

It is one thing to educate yourself, consume all the amazing blog posts, videos, books, pdfs, and workshops in the world but it is quite another to put all of this amazing knowledge into practice and then to stay on that path of health and healing with ease.

Check in with yourself as often as possible. Ideally every time you prepare a meal or chose an item from a menu. Ask yourself, will this meal nourish my body and make me feel alive and vibrant?

Gather your evidence. When I began to make minor adjustments to my diet even in the beginning, the slightest choice would make the most enormous impact. Having fresh fruit and nuts as a snack instead of a processed biscuit would leave me feeling lighter and with more energy.

Paying close attention to your body and its reactions to certain foods has been the most valuable tool on my health journey.

And then the big reward? Taking all of these tiny lessons and bundle them into a great big pile of positive affirmation that you are on the right track.

 

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Words on making healthy eating appealing to non-health nuts

Kate Bradley – Kenko Kitchen
Wholefoods cook, stylist & author of The Kenko Kitchen Cookbook
Instagram: http://instagram.com/kenkokitchen
Facebook: http://facebook.com/kenkokitchenau
Website: http://www.kenkokitchen.com

I know first hand how difficult it can be to convince a junk food lover that the healthy option is the better choice over a sugar and gluten laden dish.

For me I always like to find out what dishes a person loves first and then try to recreate this in a healthy way for them. This shows them that you can still have your cake, pasta, burger, curry or pizza and you don’t have to miss out on flavour! It might involve something as simple as substituting sugar for coconut sugar or stevia when making a cake, swapping full cream milk for unsweetened almond milk in their iced chocolate or something as easy as swapping wheat pasta for zucchini or buckwheat noodles.

Don’t try and force a healthy diet onto them and never try and make them eat a raw kale salad straight away. Ease them into it in a more subtle way by just reinventing what they love.

Jamie Gonzalez
Words on staying present

Jamie Gonzalez

Mentor, Writer & Speaker
Website: http://jamiegonzalez.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/iamjamiegonzalez
Instagram: http://instagram.com/jamie_gonzalez

Very often, people approach me and ask if I can help motivate them. I tell them that if I were to motivate them, I would only be placing a Band Aid over what the real issue is.

We don’t need to be motivated. Rather, we must find what naturally inspires us through only doing what we love. When we are doing something that we love, we feel naturally inspired and find ourselves already motivated.

The same thing holds true for presence. When we are doing what we truly love without need or agenda, we experience presence. It’s only when we go against what we love that we fall out of presence.

So, find your moment by focusing on your breathing. Notice that your mind eventually becomes quiet. Then, in this space, take it step by step. Notice when you feel yourself leaving this space. In this direct experience, you will see what distracts you. It may be thoughts, the past, the future, your judgments, labeling of circumstances or situations…

Whatever it may be, in noticing it, you now have a choice to become present again and focus on what feels true for you in this moment.

Here are some of my life hacks on staying present;

-       Bring awareness to your breath and at the same time feel the sensations of your feet upon the ground.

-       Don’t judge yourself for not being present, the moment you notice your not, you just became present.

-       In the beginning of practicing presence, set a subtle alarm on your phone for every 30min during the day to remind you to take a breath.

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Words on staying fit

Elise Carver – Little Bantam

Surf Style Coach
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bantamdigitalmarketing
Instagram: http://instagram.com/littlebantamsurftrainer
Website; http://www.littlebantamhealthandfitness.com.au/

1. Drink plenty of WATER – did you know our bodies on average hold up to 5kgs of poop! Yep, we are literally full of shit! So drink up and stay regular! 1Ltr per 30kgs!

2. Eat plenty of GREENS – I’m talking ALL veges here folks, not just the superfood kind! Fiber & Vitamins!

3. Do at least 20mins of movement EACH DAY! – Not a single day should go by where you have not moved, walked, stretch, etc – you need to keep your endorphins up and this doesn’t happen sitting down! Unless you scoff chocolate…

4. Find something active that’s FUN! – Best way to stay physically motivated! Like Shallow Water Training?

5. DE STRESS – stress is the devil! If you’re stressed or tired your metabolism takes a hit as well as your motivation so stay stress free, you need to love life not hate it!


Kate Toholka_140

Words on getting things done
Kate Toholka

Success Coach & Author
Website: www.katetoholka.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/kate_toholka
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kate.toholka

I’m not a huge fan of motivation. Inspiration on the other hand, I’m all over it. Inspiration is when you are internally powered to do something, whereas motivation requires some sort of external reward or encouragement.

 It’s very hard to get things done when you aren’t passionate about it. I should know – I wasted many hours in my old job only to now work hard and a lot more productive working in my passion of coaching and writing. If you’re struggling to get things done, ask yourself: “Am I passionate about this?” If you aren’t, start taking the steps towards living a passionate life.

That said there are times when we are doing what we love but feeling very stuck. The best way to get unstuck? Move. Whether it’s moving your body or simply changing your environment, move out of the stuckness and into inspiration.


Words on fueling creativity
Jenna Hutchinson – Love Ludie

Creative Director / Communications + Operations Manager

Website: www.loveludie.com
Instagram: http://instagram.com/loveludie
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/loveludie

You have to be prepared to work incredibly hard at this. 

Don’t get caught up and bogged down on one idea. It is all well and good to keep at it but if there is one thing I have learnt you need to have a plan. You need to know what you are going to be doing in 6 months time – map it out, draw it up and create a strategy……..but you also have to be ready to change it. You need to be able to say…okay this isn’t working… and move on very quickly. 

Pinterest is a great tool to fuel creativity and inspiration. It is also a terrible source to replicate something that has already been done. So draw in inspiration from wherever you can and make sure everything you do is organically you. 

Physical mood boards are also a great thing to have above your desk with future ideas a projects, product ranges etc. You need to!

Write everything down – absolutely everything – even if it is just 1 word – or a terrible sketch of something you are trying to imagine, carry around a note book everywhere you go.

Don’t get stuck at home or in the office. Get out of the house – go for a bush walk, go to homewares store, or health food shops. Some of the greatest ideas are always formed away from the desk. 

Print out motivational quote or even phrases you have written yourself – print them out and put them all around your house.


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Words on following your heart & living intuitively
Helen Jacobs – The Little Sage

Intuitive, psychic and medium
Website: http://www.thelittlesage.com
Instagram: http://instagram.com/_thelittlesage

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleSageAU

 Intuition is your inner tutor, voice, knowing, feeling, or sense. It is knowledge, guidance or wisdom from within – yet, it may only show up in the form of a hunch, sensation, or “just a feeling”. Because of this vague, intangible quality, intuition is often ignored or overlooked by many, particularly those who are preoccupied in their minds, thinking, planning and reacting to life’s events.

Every body is born with intuition, what we like to call your little sage and has the ability to practice living intuitively. At The Little Sage, we believe following your intuition’s guidance on every decision, no matter how small, adds up. That inner guide is connected to a larger, wiser, energy. It knows why you’re here, your soul’s purpose and lessons. Your little sage is always working towards helping you live out the life you were born to live.

You already have the answers to all of your life’s questions within you – look into your spiritual heart and steer away from your head. Your intuition’s role is to work it’s hardest to educate you with all you need to know and encourage you to turn up to the examination room. The rest is over to you.

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Words on living sustainably & minimizing wastage
Megan Yonson – Meg And Veg

Nutritionist & writer for IQS

Move over gluten free, sustainability is the new health buzzword on the block.

But what does it actually mean? Well, basically it boils down to taking what you need, no more. Not abusing resources to ensure they’ll be enough in the future.

Great. So how can you do it?

One of the easiest ways to live more sustainably is to reduce wastage. Being a nutritionist and recipe developer means I’m quite obviously a huge foodie. So here are 6 tips on how I reduce food wastage:

1. Use the stems of your herbs. Why do we chuck ‘em out? Chop them up small and fry off with your onion and garlic.

2. Puree broccoli and cauliflower stems. Then use them to bulk out dishes like curries and soups.

3. Save the nubs from veggies. Use carrots, fennel and celery nubs in chicken stock and broths.

4. Store food properly. Never leave anything uncovered in the fridge. Wrap up leafy green veggies into a plastic bag and store your veg in large containers.

5. Freeze ginger and turmeric whole. They don’t last very long in the fruit bowl, and they’re easier to grate this way.

6. And if all else fails: compost.

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Words on identifying the fads associated with leading a healthy lifestyle
Lana Jankovic

Holistic Nutritionist, CNP & Wellness Coach

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lanajankoviccnp
Instagram: www.instagram.com/lanajankovic
Website: www.lanajankovic.ca

A good dose of common sense is the absolute best tool you can arm yourself with when embarking on your healthy living journey. Whenever you come across a seemingly “healthy” option (or a product masquerading as one), ask yourself this:

- Is this REAL whole food, as mother nature would have it?
– Is there any MARKETING behind it? (Think about an apple vs. a weight loss shake – does the apple need its own advertisement?)
– Is the majority of your sustenance coming out of a pill, bottle, or box (shakes, protein powders, meal replacement bars, weight loss teas, etc.)?
– When you read the label, are there ingredients you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce, and do they really need to be in there?
– Is this product/company turning a profit by promising results and an eating regime that is supposedly right
for everybody?
– How does this food make you FEEL when you eat it?

Remember, the whole point is to feel deliciously juiced on all levels – and that includes your mind and soul too. Let this be a gauge as you test out different ways of eating.

When in doubt, stick with the good old basics: plenty of water, fresh fruits and vegetables, high quality animal products, whole grains, and the like – in whichever quantities feel best and right for YOU, not anybody else. These foods often don’t come with fancy labels, before and after pictures, empty promises, ingredient list labels, or advertising gimmicks.

 End note from yours truly:
Our sense of well-being often fluctuates at different stages of our lives. At some points we may feel like zen goddesses, at peace with ourselves and in harmony with our surroundings, at other stages we may feel as though our world is crumbling, running wildly out of control and that we have no idea what on earth is going on. Take solace in the fact that this is LIFE, life is forever changing, challenging us, pushing us to grow and evolve.

As time passes, and life experiences or mentors teach us new lessons, take note and allocate them a spot in your “Well-being Maintenance Tool Kit”, because having this carefully crafted resource at your disposal will better equip you to deal with life’s rocky terrain.

 

 

Spiced Granola Two Ways; Strawberry, Macadamia & Pear + Orange, Almond & Apricot

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Spiced Granola
Two Ways;
Strawberry, Macadamia & Pear + Orange, Almond & Apricot 

Vegetarian. Dairy Free. Vegan. Refined Sugar-Free. Gluten Free

Base Ingredients:
(Base ingredients used for both options)

1/2 cup of pepitas
1/2 cup of sesame seeds
1/2 cup of flaxseeds
1/3 cup of coconut oil
1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
1/2 cup of maple syrup or rice bran syrup
1/4 tsp of sea salt
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of cardamom

Option One: Strawberry, Macadamia & Pear
4 cups of wholegrain oats – OR – 2 cups quinoa flakes + 2 cups puffed brown rice for GF
1 cup of halved macadamias
1/2 cup of goji berries
1/2 cup of dehydrated or dried strawberries
1/2 cup of dehydrated or dried pears
1/2 cup of shredded coconut

Option Two: Orange, Almond & Apricot (GF)
4 cups of wholegrain oats – OR – 2 cups quinoa flakes + 2 cups puffed brown rice for GF
1 cup of chopped almonds
1/2 cup of chopped dates
1/2 cup of dehydrated oranges
1/2 cup of dried apricots
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds

Strawberry, Macadamia & Pear Granola

Orange, Almond & Apricot Granola

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.

Melt coconut oil and whisk it with the maple syrup/rice bran syrup, vanilla essence, sea salt and spices.

Place the flaxseeds, sesame seeds, oats/or quinoa flakes + puffed brown rice, pepita’s, sunflower seeds, nuts in a large bowl, pour the coconut oil mixture over the top and and mix until the liquid mixture evenly coats the seeds & oats/quinoa flakes + puffed rice.

Set aside the following ingredients as they will be mixed through the granola once it has come out of the oven.
Option 1:  goji berries, shredded coconut, strawberries & pear
Option 2:  orange, apricot & dates

Line two baking trays with baking paper and evenly distribute a layer of the granola mix on each tray. Try not to put too much on each tray as it will prevent the granola from getting a nice even golden tan. Pop the granola in a pre-heated oven for 20mins. After 10mins give the mixture a bit of a stir to ensure even tanning and to prevent burning.

Once the mixture is golden brown remove it from the oven, let it cool for 10mins on the trays to allow sections to form clusters and then stir through the ingredients set aside earlier.

And there you have yourself a delicious crunchy granola!

Serve with your favourite milk & fresh fruit, on top of mango ice-cream/smoothie bowl or as a layer in a breakfast parfait.

Store in an airtight container in the pantry.

ENJOY!

Sugar-Free Plum & Blackberry Jam

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Sugar-free Plum & Blackberry Jam
Vegetarian. Vegan. Gluten Free. Refined Sugar-free. Dairy Free.

Ingredients:
150g plums, pips & skin removed
150g blackberries, frozen or fresh
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp honey or rice malt syrup
drizzle of vanilla extract or essence
2 tbsp chia seeds

Method:

Peel plums and slice in half to remove the pips. Place plums, blackberries, honey or rice malt syrup, lemon juice and vanilla extract or essence in a pot on the stove top for 5mins. Make sure you keep stirring it to prevent the mixture from burning.

Once the berries have started to break down and the mixture starts to gain more liquid and become syrupy place the mixture in the food processor and pulse until desired consistency.

Return the mixture to the pot off the heat and add in 2 tbsp of chia seeds. Mix through well and leave to thicken and cool for 10-15mins.

Pour the thickened mixture into a jar and store it in the fridge. If the Jam isn’t thick enough for your liking, add more chia seeds.

This jam keeps in the fridge for up to 7days. The mixture is delicious with coconut cream and banana, on toast, scones, stirred through greek yogurt or on its own by the spoonful.

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ENJOY!

6 Steps to Banish Unwelcome Habits

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How to banish unwelcome habits
Here we are, almost a month into the year of 2015.
I bet a lot of you set yourselves goals and made yourself promises, in the form of New Years Resolutions. Often these bids include aspirations to eat better, lose weight or be happier with the aim of improving your overall health and well-being.

Now, a month down the track, things are starting to get a little wobbly.

That chocolate seems to be calling your name very regularly
The couch seems so much more welcoming than the track
That negative voice in your head seems to be louder than your positive one
And those unhealthy unwelcome habits you decided to banish from your life commencing 2015 have started creeping back in, slowly, but surely.

Why is it that as February approaches all of those hopes, dreams and promises that we made only a month ago are fading hard and fast leaving us deflated?

The 3 reasons that always resurface, that sum up why many of my past New Years Resolutions have failed, are

CRAVINGS, RELAPSE & TRIGGERS.

Whether you are planning on cutting down on your intake of sugar, coffee, cigarettes or alcohol, increasing your fitness or planning to send self-loathing, destructive behaviour or procrastination to the curb in 2015 { GOOD ON YOU } you need to be aware and prepared for the inevitability of facing cravings, relapses and triggers.

Cravings, triggers and relapse are pretty normal phenomena upon cessation or reduction of any behaviour/activity/substance that has been used to help us relax, ease feelings of stress, gain control, allow us to escape, aid social interaction and achieve a short lived state of elevated being.
When I say relapse I am talking about the tendency to fall into old habits, to abandon our good intentions and resign to the fact that “we’re just not strong enough”. When we are faced with cravings and triggers they often prove to be the major speed humps that stretch your willpower and hinder your chances of staying on the straight and narrow.

Now I want to make it clear from the get go, I am not telling you that you need to change your behaviour, give up sugar or anything else for that matter. No changes in your life will be permanent unless YOU have made the decision, YOU have asked yourself the questions and YOU want to change the direction your life, your body or your health are heading.

>>>>> If YOU have made that decision and need some tips to stay on the right track to successfully understand, deal with cravings and prevent relapse, here is my two bobs worth, to help you shift those habits that are no longer welcome in your life. <<<<<

create a plan

So, lets get started;

We all know that once a craving hits us, it’s like a wave that is almost impossible to dodge. Therefore it is important that we create a plan, identify our triggers, manage our “risk factors”, remind ourselves of our true intention & neutralize our risk factors to successfully banish “unwelcome habits” from our lives.

1.  Create a relapse plan;


If you are making some radical life changes, you require a plan. Just like any major task you set out to achieve; an essay, a business, a dinner party, a travel adventure. In order for it to be successful you at least want to have some idea of how you will tackle hurdles, what you will do if things go a bit pear shaped, how you will push through mental or physical barriers and have a plan B, in case all else fails.

In order to create a relapse plan you need to have a think about what it is that drives you into the arms of your weakness, your unwelcome habit. Grab a notebook and flesh out the following questions, honestly, to help you gain a more in depth picture about your unwelcome habits.

2. Identify your triggers;


In order to feel a level of control over the cravings/urges to indulge in your unwelcome habit, you need to understand what drives them, what amplifies them, what brings them to the light. And plan how you will deal with these triggers as they arise, because believe me, they will arise.

Are there certain people who encourage your unwelcome habit?
How does it make you feel if they don’t respect your choices?
Are there places that trigger a craving/urge to indulge in that unwelcome habit?
How do you feel after you have indulged in your unwelcome habit?
Are there certain thought patterns that lead you to a vulnerable place?
Do these thought patterns increase your desire to relapse? What are they?
- Depression, social anxiety, peer pressure, boredom, pain, comparisonitis?

Are there certain feelings that trigger the desire to indulge in your “unwelcome habit”?
- Anger, hurt, upset, jealousy, failure, revenge?

3. Identify the early warning signs


Now that you have identified some of the things that trigger the urge to indulge in your unwelcome habit, have a think about things that you may be able to identify as early warning signs that you are heading down the path of relapse. Its important to be able to recognize patterns in your behaviour that may indicate you are setting yourself up for failure.

Does lack of sleep, stress  or boredom coerce you into the arms of sugar?
Does peer pressure, stress or lack of confidence drive you to over consume alcohol? 
What happens to your appetite when you’re feeling low?
If you start to relapse on your goals do you become withdrawn?
If you spend too much time alone, how does it make your feel?
What happens to your frame of mind when you start messing with your sleep cycle?
Does lack of sleep effect your overall well-being, mood, decision making, energy levels?
If you leave too little time for relaxation and leisure activities, does it make you feel the need to over compensate with pleasurable substances; alcohol, sugar, cigarettes or destructive behaviour?

These prompts may seem small, but when warning signs, changes in behavioural or thought patterns go undetected and unattended, your clear and happy frame of mind can become skewed, affecting your ability to cope with situations at hand. Hence the desire to indulge in that familiar “unwelcome behaviour” becomes amplified. We know it makes us feel good, comfortable and relaxed.

However remember growth lies just outside of your comfort zone. In order to excel, to reach new heights, you need to push the boundaries of comfort. Become comfortable with discomfort, it is nothing but growing pains. Remember you have chosen to eliminate or reduce the presence of this “unwelcome habit” for a reason.

4. Remind yourself or identify the reason/s why you decided to banish this “unwelcome habit” in the first place


By outlining a clear reason, that is honest and of importance to you, you can create a mantra to come back to when you are really struggling to keep your “unwelcome habit” in the past.

Think about why it is so important that you banish, or reduce this unwelcome behaviour from your life? Is it because;

- After the immediate pleasure, it results in feelings of failure, negativity or self loathing
– It is negatively effecting your emotional, physical or mental well-being
– It hinders your ability to lead the life you truly desire
– It hinders your ability to be the role model you aspire to be, for your children, family or friends.
– You’ve come to realize that whilst these “unwelcome habits” provide momentary relief, the underlying problem is still there and needs addressing (stress, depression, anxiety, upset, heartbreak)

Whatever the reason, you need to make your intention clear from the start to have the best chance of success.

5. Reducing the risk factors


Have a think about the types of things that make you feel good, release endorphins and put you in a better frame of mind to deal with the situations that life throws at you so that you are able to fend off the cravings/urges long before you’re in throws of being taken over.

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What can you do to minimize these risk factors?

Draw on experience - What have you done in the past that has been successful at combating these “unwelcome habits”? How did you feel after you triumphantly fought off the cravings? It may seem like the hardest thing in the world when its the one thing you are craving, or used to having, as an aid to ride through a difficult, boring or traumatic situation. However think back to a time when you have successfully combated the unwelcome habit, whether it was a big or small win at the time, take solace in knowing that you’ve done it before and you can do it again.

Use the art of distraction - If you’re sitting on the couch and all you can think of is that block of chocolate in the cupboard, debating whether to down the whole block and hate yourself later or be good and feel miserable, you need to mix it up and do something else. If you’ve been pondering the “life altering” question to eat or not to eat, to smoke or not to smoke, to run or not to run, for the last half an hour you’re probably just bored or being lazy. Meet a friend for coffee, go for a walk, a swim, do some cooking, read a book, listen to some uplifting music, do some writing, painting, play with your dog. Anything, just get yourself out of your current situation, or you’ll get stuck in a rut. If you’re doing something that you NEED to be doing (your job, an assignment, parenting) take a little break, stretch your legs, become present in the moment and then immerse yourself in the task at hand, give it your full attention, dedicate yourself.

Delay giving into your cravings - Make a deal with yourself, if all you want to do is get cosy with your “unwelcome habit”, put a time delay on it. If in 2hrs you still feel like indulging in your “unwelcome habit” reassess the situation. This doesn’t rule it out completely but allows you the opportunity to put it out of your mind for a few hours, at which point you can re-analyze the situation with a fresh mind.

Debrief with your support crew- Talk about the craving or urge to indulge in the “unwelcome habit” with someone else. Explain why it is that you no longer want this “unwelcome habit” in your life. Putting your intentions out in the open and saying it aloud helps make sense of the situation, not only for yourself, but for your support network. If they understand how important these changes are to you they are more likely to stand in your corner when you’re having a moment of weakness or prop you up if someone is trying to coerce you into relapse.

Stay hydrated - Often when we crave something, especially food its because we are thirsty. Even the act of having a water bottle in hand to sip on as you ride through a craving will help you feel satisfied and give you something to do to combat the urge the splurge.

Practice deep breathing & being present in the now- When you start to feel yourself becoming emotional, overwhelmed or stressed, take a moment to sit somewhere quiet, ideally outside, and still your mind. Tell your mind to hold its horses for just a few minutes so that you can become present in the current moment and let go of the racing ego.

Focus on the sound and feeling of your breath coming in and out of your lungs, take note of the sounds around you, the smells, the colours, the movement of the tree’s, the grass, the birds. When your mind tries to race onto something else, acknowledge that your mind is working, but instead of letting the thought take over you, making your heart race and your mind wander, observe it and listen to it as if someone else is telling you a story.

This technique works WONDERS for me. It never fails to calm my mind, even amidst a break-down/stress attack/uni crisis.

Get your natural endorphins flowing - I have never heard anyone say that they felt worse having gone for a walk when they were feeling out of sorts. Walking gets the blood pumping, muscles working, endorphins flowing. It clears the mind and refreshes the body. If you are steering towards relapse island, drop what you’re doing and get your butt outdoors.

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6. Set your boundaries


Lastly it is important to set some goals and boundaries to help keep you within borders that you are happy with.

For example, you may want to cut down on sugar but not go all out and eliminate it from your diet completely. Hence you might outline to yourself “if I start having … much … per day/week, for more than …. days/weeks” I am falling into dangerous grounds for a relapse and therefore may need to step back a little bit and have a look at some of the other things we discussed such as identifying & managing risk factors and re-establishing the reasoning behind your initial decision.

This article in no way, shape or form is designed to persuade you to give up anything or make lifestyle changes that you do not wish to do, it is simply a guideline for those wishing to stick to goals that THEY set, for reasons that THEY have identified, to work towards building a healthier & happier life for THEMSELVES.

If you’ve got this far, thank you for reading, I hope you take something away with you.

BIG LOVE

Chloe

Liver Cleanse Tonic

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Liver Cleanse Tonic
Vegetarian. Vegan. Gluten Free. Dairy Free.

Ingredients:
1/2 tsp ginger
1 small lime
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
2 sprigs of of fresh mint
3/4 of almost boiling water
1/4 tsp of ground turmeric
2 x carrots
1/2 a medium raw beetroot
6 slices of frozen cucumber

Method:

Place almost boiling water in a glass with the mint sprigs, ginger, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, lemon & lime juice. It is important that the water isn’t boiling as this will destroy the Vitamin C in the citrus fruits. Let this concoction brew for 5mins to allow the nutrients to combine and the favours to seep into the water. Juice carrots and beetroot into a different glass whilst you wait for the other tonic to brew.

When the 5mins is up place 4 slices of frozen cucumber into the tonic to further chill the mix and add to the refreshing nature of the juice.

Once the juice is chilled strain the tonic into the glass containing the carrot and beetroot juice to remove the mint leaves and cucumber. Serve with 2 frozen slices of cucumber.

Liver Cleanse Tonic

So, what does the liver do again?
The liver is a pretty amazing organ. It is responsible for clearing toxins from the body, processing food nutrients and it is involved in regulating body metabolism. Fat accumulation, alcohol misuse, viral infection, toxic damage and cancer can damage the liver. (information source; http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/liver_explained)

This recipe is a really delicious yet not over powering combination of ingredients which naturally aid cleansing and boosting of liver function, helping to remove toxins and carcinogens from the body.

Why am I using these ingredients?

Lemon & Lime;
As we know citrus fruits are very high in vitamin C. This helps the body to break down and synthesize toxic materials into compounds that can be absorbed by water and therefore better assimilated and eliminated from the body.  Drinking freshly-squeezed lemon or lime juice in the morning helps stimulate the liver.

Turmeric;
Turmeric is a fantastic anti-inflammatory spice that works wonders in boosting the detoxification of the liver. It does this by assisting enzymes that flushing dietary carcinogens from your system.

Carrots;
Carrots contain a high level of Beta Carotene, which is the component in carrots that is converted into Vitamin A by the body, it is a powerful antioxidant which means it protects cells from free radical damage and is therefore good for overall health & function.

Beetroot;
Beetroot is a powerful liver cleanser, like carrots, it has high levels of betacarotene as well as calcium and iron, and also works as a good laxative (so don’t have too much)

Apple Cider Vinegar;
Apple cider vinegar has a vast range of uses in the areas of beauty, cleaning and detoxifying, just to name a few. By adding this tonic to your juice it may help improve lymph circulation which helps the body get rid of waste and toxins from the bloodstream.

ENJOY!

Kombuch, huh?

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Kombucha Brewing

When I tried my first bottle of Kombucha from SC Wholefoods in Torquay my taste-buds were quite confused. I had heard it spoken about a lot online but had absolutely no idea what to expect. Now, having enjoyed many many many a glass my senses have embraced this refreshing tonic and, in my opinion, it tastes like apple cider crossed with ginger beer. This refreshing beverage is the perfect substitute for soft drink as it hits the spot when you’re craving something fizzy, it gives you a bit of an energy boost and it also helps to nourish you.

There is nothing better than a big chilled glass of Kombucha with some frozen berries on summers afternoon.

So what on earth is this fizzy concoction, I hear you ask
Well, Kombucha is a fermented tea which has been used world wide for hundreds of years for an array of reasons. It is usually brewed by mixing black tea with sugar & water and the fermentation process takes place once you introduce a starter culture which is called a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast also known as a SCOBY.

Kombucha maintains healthy gut flora by increasing the amount of good bacteria in the gut, therefore acting a pro-biotic. It also aids digestions by assisting in the break down of nutrients enabling vitamins and minerals to be more easily absorbed by the body. These digestive benefits are the main reason I consume Kombucha, however the list of supposed health benefits is extensive. It is said to have anti-aging, anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties, aid in detoxification of the liver, support the nervous system, decrease sugar cravings and support healthy joints.

To find out more about the benefits of Kombucha, have a read of these articles:
Sarah Wilson IQS - https://iquitsugar.com/17-reasons-to-drink-kombucha/
Cultures for Health - http://www.culturesforhealth.com/cultured-food-expert-advice
Hungry for Change - http://www.hungryforchange.tv/article/kombucha-discover-the-secrets-of-this-wonder-tea
Food Matters - http://www.foodmatters.tv/articles-1/three-foods-that-could-change-your-life
Food Renegade - http://www.foodrenegade.com/kombucha-health-benefits/

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So give me low down, how to I make this delicious fermented goodness?

For my birthday last year one of my oldest and dearest friends, Brigette, dropped round to my place to give me a Kombucha making class. She wrote out colourful glittery instructions and guided me through the process whilst I crafted by first delicious batch.

Below are the instructions that were given, with love, to me, and now I am giving them, with love, to you. There are plenty of recipes and methods listed online and I am by no means a Kombucha expert, I wanted to give you some idea of what is involved in home brewing Kombucha.

What you need:

MATERIALS:
1 x 1L wide-mouthed glass jar
2 x wooden spoons
Tight weave material
Rubber band
1 x 1L glass bottle

INGREDIENTS:
2 x black tea bags
1/4 cup of sugar
100ml Starter Tea
1 x SCOBY
1L boiling water
White vinegar

HYGIENE

*A SCOBY’s enemy is BAD GERMS – they will kill it!
*Soap also kills a good SCOBY, so do not wash anything with soap – everything needs to be sterilized with boiling water and/or white vinegar.
*Remember tap water isn’t totally clean – all water must be filtered or boiled first
*DO NOT touch the SCOBY with your hands unless you’ve washed them with white vinegar

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THE BREWING

1. Combine teabags and sugar with one litre of boiling water – leave overnight or just wait to cool
2. Put tea, SCOBY and 100ml Starter tea (pre-made Kombucha) in your 1L glass jar. The SCOBY may float or stay down the bottom, all good!
3. Cover jar with material and secure with rubber band.
4. Move jar to a warm, dark, quiet place where it won’t be disturbed.
5. Brewing takes 7-14days

THE BOTTLING: –> After 7days use a straw to taste, if too sweet, keep brewing.

1. Sanitize everything! Bottles, spoons, hands, funnel, jug
2. Kombucha grows another SCOBY on top – a baby. If its moldy you CANNOT use it. Take out both SCOBYs with clean hands or wooden spoons and then pour the liquid (kombucha) into a pouring jug.
3. Keep aside 100ml of this liquid for next time you brew, this is your “starter tea”
4. Drink, bottle for later or flavour (SEE BELOW).

—->  Store the extra SCOBY’s in 100ml of Kombucha in a glass jar with glad wrap on top. It needs to be airtight, but condensation from a metal lid can kill the SCOBY hence the glad
wrap.

Right, that sounds amazing, where do I get myself a SCOBY?

You can buy a SCOBY from Alice Nichols over at http://thewholedaily.com.au/shop/make-kombucha/ 

OR if you’re not ready to get the brewing happening in your kitchen just yet, next time you’re at a Wholefoods shop, health food store, cafe or, if your lucky, your local supermarket, keep your eyes peeled for this delicious fizzy tea, it will kick your soft drink cravings to the curb and promote good inner health.

Take home messages:

1. Never use soap on any of your brewing equipment
2. Never tap water – chlorine kills the SCOBY
3. Always Sanitize your equipment/hands with hot water and/or white vinegar
4. Always reserve 1-2 cups of plain Kombucha for your starter liquid in a new batch, or for your SCOBY hotel.
5. Never put your SCOBY in water that is too hot!
6. Don’t disturb your Kombucha for the first 7days of brewing.

ENJOY!!

Please feel free to share your favourite Kombucha recipes in the comment box below :)

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Sarah explains kombucha really well here. Essentially it’s a fermented tea-based beverage that uses a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), or “mother” (creepy right?! Just us?) as a starter culture to produce a probiotic and gut-healing beverage – See more at: https://iquitsugar.com/17-reasons-to-drink-kombucha/#sthash.hcElFMVP.dpufand left to ferment for anywhere for 7days to a month, and beyond. Sounds a bit funky right?

Homemade Breakfast Topper

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Homemade Breakfast Topper
Vegetarian. Vegan. Gluten Free. Dairy Free.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of goji berries
1/2 cup of freeze dried pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup of pepitas
1/2 cup of dessicated coconut
1/4 cup of flaxseeds
1 cup of caramelised buckinis
1/2 cup of crushed almonds or cashews
1/2 cup of chopped dates
1/2 cup of incaberries

 

Homemade Breakfast Topper

Method:

This recipe is a really simple combination of delicious nuts, seeds & berries to make your smoothies, yogurt or oats a little bit more interesting and nourishing. Place the ingredients in a jar/container and give it a good shake and voila you’re done, it’s that simple!

Play with the quantities depending on how much you want, any amount will work. Feel free to get creative and add in different ingredients such as chia seeds, cacao nibs or dried apricots.

Whip up a jar and give it to a friend as a birthday, christmas or “you’re awesome” present, how can you go wrong?

ENJOY!

Berry Tropical Swirl Smoothie Bowl

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Berry Tropical Swirl Smoothie Bowl
Vegetarian. Vegan. Gluten Free. Dairy Free.

Ingredients:
Tropical Smoothie:
2 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen mango
3 oranges freshly juiced

Berry Swirl:
1/2 cup of frozen raspberries
1 tsp of acai berry powder
1/2 cup of water

Optional extra toppings; fresh blueberries, fresh banana, coconut chips, pepitas, buckinis, goji berries or inca berries.

Tropical Berry Swirl Smooothie Bowl

Method:

Place frozen banana, mango & fresh orange juice in the blender and whizz until thick and delicious. Remove the tropical mix from the blender and put it in a bowl. Pop raspberries, acai powder & water into the blender and blend until smooth.

Pour the raspberry mixture over the top of the tropical mixture and give it a swirl.
Top with desired optional extras. I would go with something that has a bit of crunch to add some texture.

ENJOY!

Love & Light

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love and light
Take a moment today to light a candle and reflect on the beauty of your life.
Give thanks for the beautiful souls that enrich your existence.
Warmly remember those who are no longer with us in physical form but who will always remain with us in spirit.
Sending you love & healing energy.

Pumpkin, Pea & Lentil Soup

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Pumpkin, Pea & Lentil Soup
Vegetarian. Vegan. Gluten Free. Dairy Free.

Ingredients:
1 onion
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp coriander
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vegetable stock
2 cups of water
800g of butternut pumpkin
1 cup of frozen peas
1 tin of lentils

Pumpkin, Pea & Lentil Soup

Method:

Dice onion and pan fry with coconut oil, ginger & garlic until the onion has started to brown, then turn off the heat.
Cut pumpkin up into managable chunks and place in a big pot with boiled water, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, vegetable stock and coriander. Simmer mixture with the lid on the pot until pumpkin has softened and you can easily put a fork into it. Use a bar mixer or blender to blitz this mixture until thick and smooth. Place the soup back on the stove-top, add lentils & peas and heat the mixture through. Then you’re ready to roll.. or eat.
Optional garnishes: Pepita’s and snow pea sprouts.

ENJOY!

5 Simple Self Nourishing Tips

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Does the long list of special diets, 12 week clean eating plans and how to be healthy guides, give you a head spin? I know the feeling!

So here are 5 super simple ways to
nourish your mind, body and soul
during the week without going the whole hog.

 

 

H2O


1. Grab a 1litre water bottle, chop up some lemon, lime & orange wedges, pop them in and drink up. Not a fan of citrus? Try frozen berries! This will encourage you to sip more throughout the day.

I know getting enough H2O seems like a very simple tip but have a think about it, do you really consume enough water during the day?

Our bodies are made up of 50-75% water and it is vital for SO many bodily processes.

Think about how horrendous you feel after a night of drinking, when you’re hung over, you feel like your heart is racing, your mouth is dry and “fresh as a daisy” is far from your state of being, that’s all because of dehydration.

Think of water as a bulking agent for your blood, it allows your blood to move through the vessels with more ease and less strain on the body, it carries oxygen and nutrients to every cell in your body and removes toxins, taking waste away from the cells once your body has used what it needs. It allows you to regulate your body temperature and it hydrates and lubricate your insides, ensuring everything functions smoothly.

It is also very important to keep your digestive system functioning efficiently. Feeling bloated, hungry ALL the time or having irregular bowel habits? Well thirst can manifest as the similar feeling to hunger so if your stomach feels like a endless black hole, try dialing up the water before reaching for a cupcake, laxative or detox tea!

Meat Free Monday

2. Give meat free Monday a whirl!

Don’t worry, no-one is saying you need to go vegan anytime soon to be healthy (well some people are, but I’m not one of them) Everything in moderation right? How often do you have a meal that doesn’t contain any meat? Try having one day a week where instead of bulking up a meal with animal protein, try adding tofu, tempeh, chickpeas, kidney beans, cashews or lentils. Add more vegetables and spices to the dish instead of relying on the meat for flavour and substance.

As we are aware meat, processed meat in particular, in excess, can contribute to heart disease, increasing cholesterol levels and contributing to hardening of the arteries which can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Dedicating one day a week to being meat free can help improve heart health. If a whole day seems like too much to bare, try making just one evening meal minus the meat. Here is my recipe for Lentil Bolognese to get you inspired.

pita bread pizza
3. Love your breads, pasta, pizza & rice? Don’t worry so do I.
Instead of cutting carbs out of your diet, try switching to wholemeal bread, pasta and brown rice, and use wholemeal pita bread as a pizza base. Carbohydrates serve an important function in providing the body with enough energy to fuel the brain, central nervous system and the kidneys. By switching to wholemeal you are getting all of the goodness from the grain. Wholemeal is full of fibre and retains the nutrients naturally found in the grain such as folate, thiamine, magnesium and vitamin E. This is because the wheat germ, which contains most of these nutrients, remains intact. White bread and flour isn’t as nutritious because the process of making white flour removes the wheat germ.
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4. Find it hard to de-stress with a million things buzzing around your head?
Try writing it out! In a word document, in a notebook, whatever works for you. The act of following through your train of thought and seeing where it leads you will help make sense of the situation. Instead of the same thoughts flying round manically continually hitting you over the head, you will be able to look at them on paper and validate their truth and worth. At the end of your mental splurge on paper, summarize it and identify what you can do now to help overcome any issues addressed on the page. If there is nothing you can do, save the document or close the book and put the issue aside until you feel you have something more beneficial to add to the situation.

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5. Do you suffer from moments of stress, panic or anxiety?
If so breathing exercises are your best friend. When you are feeling stressed your whole body reacts, your heart rate increases, the stress hormones are released, you’re in constant fight or flight mode, your body thinks you’re in danger.
By closing your eyes and taking a few moments to focus on breathing deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth, you can showing your central nervous system that you are not in trouble, it doesn’t need to prepare itself to flee a dangerous scene and your body will start to feel more calm. To relieve tension in the body you can also try consciously focusing on and releasing all the muscles in your body, from head to toe.To do this, lie down, in a comfortable position, arms by your side, palms facing the ceiling, feet flopped out to the sides. Start from your feet and work your way up to the crown of your head, paying attention to each muscle group in the body and as you move up and relax each one, let go of the tension held there. This is a great exercise to do before bed or when you are feeling overly tense and wound up.

Heavenly Choc Banana Ice-cream

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Chocolate Banana Ice-cream
Vegetarian. Vegan. Gluten Free. Dairy Free.

Ingredients:
2 Frozen Bananas
1 tbsp of Cacao Powder
2 tsp of Lucuma Powder
1 cup of Water
1 drizzle of Vanilla Essence
1 tbsp of Rice Bran Syrup

Topping: Handful of frozen berries

Chocolate Banana Ice-cream

Method:

Place all ingredients in your blender and give it a good whiz.
I use a Vitamix and therefore when it starts to get difficult to blend I use the tamper to press the frozen banana down into the blades and keep the mixture moving. If you are unable to do this in your blender, add a more liquid so that the ingredients can combine. Top with frozen berries for a wickedly delicious dessert style breakfast.

ENJOY!

What is Lucuma Powder?
Lucuma is a peruvian fruit that has a creamy caramel-ish flavour, it comes in a powdered form and is a good source of antioxidants, healthy carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals so its a great ingredient to add into your smoothies and desserts for a little extra boost of goodness and nutrients.
What is this rice bran syrup business? I don’t have any, can I use anything else?
In the words of Sarah Wilson
Rice malt syrup is made from fermented cooked rice. It’s a blend of complex carbohydrates, maltose and glucose. We rate it because it’s fructose-free and it’s slow releasing, so it doesn’t dump on the liver quite as fast as pure glucose”
Personally I used it because it adds sweetness to sweet treats without adding processed nutrient lacking sugar, its cheaper than maple syrup and its vegan friendly. However if you don’t have any in your pantry and your whipping up this recipe you can use honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar, no biggie!
Do the banana’s have to be frozen?
They don’t HAVE to be frozen but frozen banana’s are what give this recipe its thick, creamy texture. I buy bananas in bulk, let them get spotty and slightly brown then peel them and put them all in the freezer. It means I always have bananas on hand for smoothies and banana ice-cream. Some fruit shops will sell big boxes of banana’s for super cheap when they get too ripe to sell, so suss out your local fruit shop and see if you can strike up a deal!!

 

 

Curried Cauliflower & Coconut Soup

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Curried Cauliflower and Coconut Soup
Vegetarian. Vegan. Gluten Free. Dairy Free.

Ingredients:
600grams Cauliflower
500ml of water
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of ground cumin seeds
1 tsp of curry powder
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1 tbsp of melted coconut oil
Pepper to taste
1/3 cup of coconut milk

Topping: Shredded coconut & dukkah

Curried Cauliflower & Coconut Soup

Method:

Place cauliflower, water, melted coconut oil, spices and salt in a pot on the stove on medium heat. Simmer until water is bubbling and the cauliflower has started to soften and take on a yellow-ish appearance.

Place in a food processor/blended with coconut milk and whiz until smooth.

Serve immediately in a nice big mug with shredded coconut and dukkah on top.
It’s a perfect winter warmer to sip on whilst your curled up with a blanket in front of the fireplace, television, laptop or with a good book.

ENJOY!

Cacao Pops

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Cacao Pops
Vegetarian. Vegan. Gluten Free. Dairy Free.

Ingredients:
5 cups of puffed brown rice
1 tsp of cinnamon
2 tbsp of cacao powder
1/3 cup of coconut oil
1 tsp of vanilla essence
1/3 cup of rice malt syrup
2 tbsp of flaxseeds
2 tbsp of pepitas
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup of goji beries
1/2 cup of dried cranberries

Cacao Pops

Method:
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. In a big bowl mix puffed rice, sunflower seeds, pepitas and flaxseeds.

Melt coconut oil and mix it with cacao, cinnamon, rice malt syrup syrup and vanilla essence until smooth, then add it into bowl with the puffed rice. Combine well until the mixture evenly coats all the ingredients.

Place a thin layer of the mixture on a oven tray that is covered with baking paper.
Pop the mixture in the oven for 20mins, stirring the mixture half way through.

Once the cacao puffs are cooked add the goji berries and cranberries and serve with almond milk and fresh or frozen raspberries

ENJOY!

Melon Berry Crush

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Melon Berry Crush
Vegetarian. Vegan. Dairy Free. Gluten Free.
Makes approx. 700ml

 

Ingredients:

300g of Watermelon
100g frozen Raspberries
50g of frozen Granny Smith Apple
50g of frozen Cucumber
Passion Fruit Pulp
Handful of Spinach
300ml of H2 Coconut Water; Acai & Pomegranate
(Original coconut water or regular H2O is also fine)

 

 

Melon Berry Crush


Method:

Place all ingredients in the blender and whiz until smooth. If you would like it a bit thicker add some ice cubes until desired consistency is achieved.

ENJOY!

 

Indian Spiced Cauliflower

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Indian Spiced Cauliflower

Vegetarian. Vegan. Dairy Free. Gluten Free.
Serves 2-3 as a side, snack or soup topper

 

 

Ingredients:

1/2 head of Cauliflower
2/3 cup of Chickpeas
2 tbsp of Sunflower Seeds
1/2 tsp of Turmeric
1/2 tbsp of Garam Masala
2 tbsp of Coconut Oil

 

 

Indian Spiced Cauliflower


Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees. 

Chop cauliflower into little florets and place in a bowl with drained and washed chickpeas and sunflower seeds.
Melt 2 tbsp of coconut oil and add it into the bowl along with turmeric and garam masala. Mix well until all ingredients are coated. Place on to a baking tray or dish and put in the oven for 20mins.

Serve immediately as a side dish, a snack or as a topper for my Warming Autumn Soup (recipe here)

ENJOY!

 

Lentil Bolognese with Buckwheat Soba Noodles

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Lentil Bolognese with Buckwheat Soba Noodles

Vegetarian. Vegan. Dairy Free. Gluten Free.
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

1tsp of minced Garlic
1/2 diced brown onion
2 tbsp of GF Worcestershire Sauce
1 can of tinned tomatoes
2 tbsp of tomato paste
1 tsp of mixed dried herbs
1 medium chopped carrot
1 medium grated zucchini
1 can of tinned lentils
2/
3 cup of frozen peas
1/2 cup of frozen corn kernels
GF Buckwheat Soba Noodles or Wholemeal pasta
Sprinkle of nutritional yeast or parmesan & fresh basil to garnish
Optional extras; Sun-dried tomatoes – 4 Button Mushrooms sliced thinly

 

Lentil Bolognese with Buckwheat Soba Noodles

Method:

Place Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste & mixed herbs into a cup and give it a good whisk, combining all the ingredients. 

Sauté garlic & onion in a fry pan on medium heat until it becomes fragrant and the onion begins to brown slightly. Add the Worcestershire sauce mix into the fry pan along with the lentils, tinned tomatoes, frozen peas, corn and optional extras if desired. Mix well then add the carrot & grated zucchini. Simmer on medium heat until the sauce is heated evenly approximately 10mins.

In a separate pot boil enough water to cover Soba noodles. Cook for 4-5mins until noodles are desired texture. (I always do the taste test to determine whether they are ready or not.) 

Serve with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese & fresh basil.

 

*You can find soba noodles in the asian section at the supermarket, not all soba noodles are gluten free.
*Nutritional Yeast can be found at the health food shop, also known as Savory Yeast, good parmesan substitute for vegans or people with dairy intolerances.

 

10 tips for the aspiring food photographer

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Taking a photo that encompasses the beauty of a dish can be quite challenging. Whether you want to impress friends and family with your handy work in the kitchen, promote your business or boost your online profile, there is no denying the power of a well crafted image.

Now I’m no professional, everything I know about photography is based on personal experience and trial & error, however I can take a decent photo, so I am going to share with you my top 10 tips for the aspiring food photographer.


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1. Use natural lighting whenever possible; natural lighting is really important to reduce the yellow & orange tinge in images. Use it as your first option before resorting to artificial light or flashes. Try to take the photos near a window or outside for crisp clean images.

2. Style your dish; think about what makes a meal appetizing to you, try to add a variety of colours to the dish or try to get your dish looking fresh by arranging your food so that all elements of the dish are in view. Don’t mix and mush up the ingredients before taking the photo. If the whole meal is one color, try adding a garnish that includes a few complimentary herbs or spices to add a bit of class and excitement to the image.
3. Don’t be afraid to get a bit snap happy, try different angles and different surroundings, add things in, take things out and see what works best.
4. Divide the frame into thirds and place your main feature either in the centre, in the middle of the left segment or in the middle of the right segment. This gives the photo structure and makes the focal point of the image obvious.

5. Try and avoid using a flash or taking photos in low light areas unless you have an SLR with a low light lens. It can make the colours look dull & its generally quite difficult to get a good shot.

6. Choose backgrounds that are bright and compliment the ingredients in the dish; crisp white or black are always winning options as they look great coupled with wooden surfaces, patterned fabrics and props. Dish up the meal in a nice bowl or glass & add things like serving cutlery, napkins, and interesting ingredients into the frame to create a dining atmosphere and extend the image beyond the edges of the dish for a more complete image.

7. Clean spillages and splashes with a wet tea towel and wipe away any crumbs or dirty spot on cutlery, crockery and benches.

8. Look beyond the main subject and remove anything distracting or unrelated from the frame. Frame the image so that only items that are relevant, or add value to the photo are included. Crop out that tap in the background, the dark shadow looming in on the shot or the dog chewing a bone in the lounge room.

9. Don’t get too close to your food; there is a time and a place for macro food shots, generally images are more appealing when you zoom out from the dish a bit so the viewer gets a more wholesome image. Aim to include at least a quarter of the dish in the frame, remember you can play around with its positioning, instead of always photographing the entire dish, try capturing half of the bowl and place a nice napkin and some cutlery or fresh produce in the other half.
10. SLR’s really are the bee’s knee’s when it comes to taking beautiful photo’s, a cheap digital camera just isn’t going to compare in terms of effects, colour and crispness, so don’t be too hard on yourself if despite all your best efforts you just can’t get the A grade shot you desire. Chances are the image you found on instagram, with the beautiful depth of field and stunning vibrancy, has probably been taken on an SLR camera that has a few more functions than your happy snap camera. But don’t fret, with a bit of natural light, patience and creative thinking, beautiful photo’s that capture the essence of your dish can be achieved on a smartphone or basic camera.
Keep these tips in mind next time you go to take a snap of your handy work in the kitchen,

And remember practice is the key xx

 

Vietnam

 

Lazy to Long Distance

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When I first started running I was lucky to make a lap around the oval, I would be huffing and puffing with every step and I was convinced running wasn’t for me, I just couldn’t do it, I wasn’t “a runner”.


However there was something about running that intrigued me, I would see people outside pounding the pavement and think how therapeutic and energizing it looked. People who ran seemed so strong and focused. So one day I decided that was it, I was becoming a runner.


Does this sounds familiar?


I started on the treadmill, it was warm indoors, there were no hills, I could watch TV to distract myself and when I’d had enough I could go and do something else. Over the course of a few months I was able to work my way up to 10km, I then headed outdoors and slowly but surely, with persistence and determination, I worked my way up to being able to run for over 2hours straight (wow saying that sounds crazy)

Now don’t get me wrong running is challenging, if you find yourself sweating like crazy and puffing like a billy when you bust out a slow paced jog, you’re not alone.

If you look around at the gym, or on the track, and you see those long lean lasses sprinting their hearts out and feel like you’re barely moving, don’t be disheartened or disappointed, remember we all have to start somewhere and what does it matter, you’re still running and that’s a hell of a lot better than everyone else who is sitting on their behinds saying “I can’t run”


Yes it may seem torturous to brave the hills, the elements & varied running surfaces, however, trust me, it wont take long until those endorphins are flowing and you learn to LOVE it. Now, I am an outdoor runner

The fresh air, the beautiful scenery and being engrossed in nature just adds an element of spiritual bliss to running that can’t be achieved in the gym. That feeling of being connected to your surroundings, everything that’s been fogging up your head, BAM, it’s left behind and all you’re left with is your surroundings, all your focus is on regulating your breathing and mentally cheering yourself on.


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If you’re new to the game of running a great way to start running is with intervals.

- Set out with the intention of completing a 3-4km run.
– I recommend using an iphone app such as “Mapmyrun” or, if you have one, a sports watch,  I use a Nike GPS Watch for my runs but before I purchased that I used the aforementioned Map My Run app.
– For the first 500m do a light jog,  just to get the muscles warmed up. This is followed by 200m of walking followed by a run/jog for another 500-700m and then another 100-200m of walking.
– Continue in this pattern for the duration of the run.

Each time you head out for a run, aim to go a little bit further, even if it was just 50m more in the running intervals. I recommend running 2-4 times a week, depending on your life and work commitments.

You will be surprised at just how quickly your body adapts to this style of running & hopefully you’ll find yourself able to run 1km, 2km or even 3km without the walking segments in no time.

Now pace doesn’t matter in the beginning, at this stage it’s all about building up endurance, finding your rhythm and easing your body into the movement.


Once you can run 3km straight and you are completing 3km run’s 2-3 times a week you can slowly started working on building on the distance of your runs.
Nothing too drastic, 1-2km every 1 or 2 weeks is a good amount to prevent injury or burning yourself out.

Once I could run about 5km straight my weekly running routine may have looked a bit like this:

Monday: 3km run
Wednesday: 4km run
Friday: 5km run
Sunday 3km run

Wednesday: 5km
Thursday: 3km
Saturday: 6km
or if training 4 days, fit in another 3-4km run

It is important to have rest days, your body needs that time to repair and rebuild, so whilst you may be enthusiastic to get out there and get moving all the time, it is in your best interest to stagger your runs throughout the week, trust me your body will thank you and on the days you run, you will feel a lot better.

The most important thing when training is consistency, if you can keep your base level of fitness up, then even if you slightly fall behind the 8 ball you’re not going to end up having to go back to the beginning.

It is also vital that you listen to your body, if you have a niggle, have a rest, there is no point pushing yourself and potentially causing injury just to prove a point.

How often should I run? Is a commonly asked question and I honestly think the answer is different for everyone. It depends on a number of things such as how far your running, how long you have been running for and what you are aiming to achieve.
I am currently in training for my second half marathon and I am running 3-4 times a week.  When I was training for the first half marathon, in June last year, I was running 4-6 times a week and looking back now, FOR ME, that was too much, it didn’t give my body time to recover in between runs and I ended up getting quite run down and got sick a few months into training.

At the moment, my week looks something like this;

Monday: 5-6km
Tuesday: 5-6km or rest
Wednesday: 6-8km OR hill training OR VO2 Max (which is a high intensity interval hill training for 30-40mins)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Long run; each week it gets extended, it started at 10km’s and ends with the 23km GOR Half Marathon.
Sunday: walk or rest.

Some weeks I will only run 2 or 3 times, and that is fine, it all depends on how your body feels and you should use that as a guide.

If you are honest with yourself you can always tell if you don’t want to go for a run because you’re being lazy or because you’re body needs a time out.

Pre Run Breakfast
What to eat before a run? If I run in the morning I have peanut butter and banana or maple syrup on toast, orange juice & warm water with lemon 1-1.5hours before I plan to run, this gives the food enough time to digest and stops you from feeling sick. 

This works well for me but it might take a bit of experimenting to find what works for your body.

After I run I usually have a smoothie, with frozen bananas, berries, almond milk & supergreens or maybe a smoothie with some of my chocolate vegan protein powder (I have posted a recipe on my website for Moca Protein Thickshake this is my go to smoothie after a big run.) I also love hard boiled eggs, tuna & brown rice with veggies, nuts or toast with vegemite, avocado & tomato and lots of water to help flush that lactic acid.

As long as you are eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and drinking lots of water your body will be very happy during training. Before I started running & improving my diet a few years ago I weighed 9-10kg more than I do now, so if you give your body things that nourish it, it will thank you.

 

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Tips to stay motivated:

1. Sign up for a fun run; whether it is 5km, 10km, 15km or 21km, having something to work towards will keep you on track.

2. Make a weekly workout plan: At the start of the week set out your intentions for the week ahead, this will help you visualize what you hope to achieve

3. Set aside two “Running Days” It is handy to set aside two days and make them your running days every week. My two set running days are Wednesday & Saturday, the other days that I choose to run on change depending on my commitments, this makes it a lot easier to tackle each week as it presents itself.

4. Be sure to drink lots of water; Both during and after you’ve been for a run, this will help flush out the lactic acid that builds up in the muscles during exercise and will also keep you feeling hydrated and fresh for the rest of the day.

5. Get a running buddy; it’s not always easy to motivate yourself to get out and go for a run, especially when it starts to get cold. So find a friend to run with or do some research and see if there is a running group in your area so that you don’t have to go it alone.

6. Be patient with yourself; don’t expect to be able to run 10km the first time you head out, consistency is the key, your body is an amazing machine, every little bit counts, put in the hard yards and you’ll be flying in no time.

7. Get yourself some good runners; nothing is a bigger deterrent than blisters or sore knee’s & feet, the right shoes for your running style can make all the difference. Runners socks are also a blessing, they banish blisters and are far more comfortable to run in than cotton socks.

Japanese Style Miso & Chili Tempeh

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Japanese Style Miso & Chili Tempeh
Vegetarian. Vegan. Dairy Free.
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of edamame
1 cup of chopped green beans
2 handfuls of spinach
1 tbsp of pepitas
110grams of chili tempeh
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of miso paste
1 tsp of ginger
2 tsp of soy sauce
2 tbsp of water
Brown Rice

Japanese Style Miso & Chili Tempeh

Method:
Chop beans & tempeh into 2cm long segments. Place the edamame beans (shelled or unshelled) into a pot of boiling water for 5 mins before removing from the heat and draining away the water. If they are still in their shells, pop the beans out of their pods & place them in a bowl with the green beans and pepitas.

Add a splash of olive oil into a fry pan on medium heat and pop the tempeh in once the pan is hot and fry for approximately 2mins each side until it has started to turn golden brown and slightly crispy.
Mix olive oil, miso paste, water, ginger & soy sauce in a cup until all ingredients are combined and add it into the fry pan. Add the green beans, edamame, pepitas and spinach into the pan and stir until the spinach starts to wilt and the ingredients are well coated with the miso mixture.
Serve with brown rice. Make sure you get a good drizzle of the sauce to stir through the rice!

ENJOY!

Japanese Style Miso & Chili TempehFeatured in the image above is the Chili Tempeh & Miso Paste I use.

What is Tempeh?
Tempeh is a soy product created from fermented whole soy beans. It has a rather textured, firm and nutty flavour and tastes nothing like tofu. Since tempeh is less processed than tofu, it’s healthier and contains more protein and fibre. Tempeh is a naturally cholesterol free food, its also low in sodium and a good source of Protein, Riboflavin, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper and Manganese. The fermentation process also means that Tempeh is more easily digested by most individuals.

Where can I find these items?
If you don’t have or cannot find chili Tempeh, normal Tempeh is fine. It can be purchased at any good health food shop in the refrigerated section. I have even seen it in Woolworth’s near the vegetarian products, cold meats & cheeses. The White Miso Paste I use is an Australian Miso purchased from The Staple Store. If you have trouble finding it in the supermarket try an Asian grocery store.

Warming Autumn Soup

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Warming Autumn Soup
Vegetarian. Gluten Free, Vegan. Dairy Free.
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 tsp of minced garlic
1  tsp of minced ginger
1.5 cups of water
1/2 tsp of vegetable stock
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup of coconut milk
2 small carrots
1/4 butternut pumpkin
1/2 medium sized sweet potato
1 can of chickpeas
Moroccan seasoning

Warming Autumn Soup

Method:
Turn the oven on to 170 degrees. Empty the canned chickpeas into a strainer and rinse thoroughly with water. Sprinkle Moroccan seasoning over the chickpeas ensuring they are evenly coated. Place the chickpeas on a tray in the oven and move onto the soup component.

Chop vegetables into 5cm chunks. Saute onion, garlic & ginger in a pot with a dollop of coconut oil until it becomes fragrant and the onion starts to brown.  Add the water, vegetable stock & cinnamon into the pot and stir until combined. Place vegetables into the pot ensuring they are evenly spread and covered in water (they don’t need to be completely submerged).  Place the lid on the pot and let the ingredients simmer for 5-10minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.

Remove the vegetables from the heat and blend, along with the coconut milk, in a blender or food processor.
Take the chickpeas out of the oven, they should be slightly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Serve soup immediately with a handful of moroccan chickpeas on top.

ENJOY!

Benefits of Orange Vegetables:

Beta- Carotene is the compound that gives orange fruit and vegetables their colour.
“The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinol) – beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.”
(http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252758.php – site visited 14/04/14)

Fun fact: It is a fat soluble vitamin meaning it is more readily absorbed by the body when its eaten with a fat such as olive oil, coconut oil or nuts.

Sweet Potatoes:
These babies are higher in nutrients than regular potatoes and have a lower glycaemic index making them great for regulating blood sugar levels & keeping you fuller for longer. They are an excellent source of beta-carotene meaning they have a strong anti-cancer action, they are high in antioxidants and vitamin E which help thin the blood, preventing platelet aggregation therefore helping to prevent heart disease.  See here for more Vitamin E benefits http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/Health-benefits-vitamin-E/2011/02/01/id/369888/
Butternut Squash:
Butternut Squash/pumpkin is one of the richest sources of beta-cryptoxanthin, a carotene that is linked with protection from lung cancer. Butternut pumpkin is also thought to help reduce inflammation and is high in vitamin C & E meaning it is the perfect ingredient to boost the immune system. It is also a high fibre source of complex carbohydrates and contains calcium, iron & magnesium
Carrot:
Carrots are one of the most nutritious root vegetables. The high carotene content protects against high blood cholesterol and heart disease and also protects against some cancers, whilst improving eye sight and maintaining healthy lung function.

 

Passion-Mango Chia Puddings

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Passion-Mango Chia Puddings
Gluten free. Vegetarian. Dairy Free. Vegan.
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2x cups of frozen mango chunks
2x passion fruits pulp
Juice of 1/2 a large lemon
1 cup of Water
3 tbsp of Chia Seeds

Method:
Whiz lemon juice, water, mango & passion fruit pulp in the blender until smooth. Pour the mixture into two separate bowls or glasses and mix 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds into each serve then refrigerate overnight.

In the morning she mixture will have thickened and will resemble a jelly-like pudding (the consistency of Yo-go)
Serve with fresh fruit
& dried coconut.

ENJOY!

 

Passion-Mango Chia Pudding

 

Super Summer Spritzer

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Super Summer Spritzer
(Non-Alcoholic)

Makes almost 1 litre

Ingredients:
2x cups of freshly squeezed Orange Juice
1x cup of Soda Water
1.5 cups of Coconut Water
1 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp of Chia Seeds
1/2 cup of Frozen Berries
Ice

Method:
Place all ingredients into a 1litre jug, give it a stir & enjoy in the sun…. if its cloudy just pretend its sunny!

ENJOY!

Super Summer Spritzer

WHY AM I USING THESE INGREDIENTS?

I have mentioned why I love Chia Seeds & Coconut Water at the bottom of my Mocha Protein Smoothie Recipe but if your looking at this ingredients list and thinking what the heck is Apple Cider Vinegar head over and read Sarah Wilson’s post on 10 reasons to use Apple Cider Vinegar, I use it to help aid digestion, boost my immune system and detoxify my liver but it has many more benefits and uses.

Banana & Maple French Toast

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Banana & Maple French Toast

Vegetarian. Dairy Free.
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2x Eggs
2x slices of Wholemeal or gluten free bread
2x tbsp of Maple Syrup
1/4 tsp of Cinnamon
Drizzle of Vanilla Essence/extract
Coconut Oil or Olive Oil – for frying

Toppings:
1x sliced banana
Dollop of coconut cream
Handful of Caramelized Buckinis
Drizzle of Maple Syrup
Sprinkle of Coconut Chips

Banana & Maple French Toast

Method:
Whisk eggs, vanilla essence, maple syrup and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Coat both pieces of the bread in the mixture, let it soak in a little and flip the bread over so each side is evenly coated. Pop a small dollop of coconut oil or olive oil in a fry pan and put on the stove top on medium heat. Place the bread in the fry pan and fry both sides until golden brown. I like to press down on the bread a little bit with a flipper to ensure the middle of the bread isn’t too mushy. Finally remove from the heat and top with coconut cream, chopped banana, buckinis, coconut chips & a drizzle of maple syrup.
TIP: If you place the tin of coconut cream in the fridge the night before it will thicken up nicely.

WHY AM I USING THESE INGREDIENTS?

Why use Wholemeal bread instead of white?
Wholemeal bread is full of fibre and retains the nutrients naturally found in the grain such as folate, thiamine, magnesium and vitamin E. This is because the wheat germ, which contains most of these nutrients, remains intact. White bread isn’t as nutritious because the process of making white flour removes the wheat germ. When buying wholemeal make sure you check the ingredients to ensure it contains wholemeal flour as cheekily some just contain colouring to give the impression of it being brown bread.

What are buckinis? Where do I get them?
“Our Buckinis are made of activated buckwheat, which is actually a seed! Available in four distinct varieties, Buckinis have an alkalising effect on your body unlike most other cereals, which create an acidic environment. Buckwheat does not contain any gluten thus making it a great alternative for those who have a gluten intolerance. It has a high protein content, has all essential amino acids and is especially high in Lysine, Tryptophan and Arginine. This is particularly important since the body cannot produce essential amino acids on its own and depends entirely on food sources to get them.

A rich source of minerals like Zinc, Iron, Copper, Manganese and B Vitamins, buckwheat is also low in fat. The little fat that it does contain is mostly monounsaturated which is the kind that makes olive oil good for the heart. The Magnesium also helps improve blood circulation and decreases blood pressure. Buckwheat has a lot of heart-healthy soluble fibre which helps reduce cholesterol, and also contains resistant starch, which boosts colon health and controls blood sugar levels. The flavonoids in buckwheat, Quercitin and Rutin, have healing and antioxidant properties.”
Information from the Loving Earth Website, this is also where I buy my Caramelized Buckinis from https://lovingearth.net/product-groups/20/buckinis

Isn’t coconut cream full of fat?
Whilst coconut milk and cream should still be used in moderation there are health benefits to including it in your diet.
“Coconuts contain significant amounts of fat, but unlike other nuts, they provide fat that is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs) in particular, one called lauric acid. Lauric acid is converted in the body into a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, an antiviral and antibacterial that destroys a wide variety of disease causing organisms. It is therefore now thought that consumption of coconut milk may help protect the body from infections and viruses. MCFAs are rapidly metabolized into energy in the liver. It is thought that unlike other saturated fats, MCFAs are used up more quickly by the body and are less likely to be stored as fat.”
Information from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-coconut-milk

What are the benefits of maple syrup?
“Health benefits of real maple syrup are far more comprehensive than you might expect. The only product in our diet coming directly from a plant’s sap, this natural sweetener features over 54 antioxidants that can help delay or prevent diseases caused by free radicals, such as cancer or diabetes. In addition, maple syrup features high levels of zinc and manganese, keeping the heart healthy and boosting the immune system.”
Information from www.purecanadamaple.com/benefits-of-maple-syrup/

Why am I putting bee pollen on my breakfast?
There are many all round health benefits associated with bee pollen, from enhancing your immune system to treating skin irritations. You can find a great list of the benefits here http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/10-amazing-health-benefits-of-bee-pollen
ENJOY!

Mocha Protein Smoothie

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Mocha Protein Smoothie

Vegan. Dairy Free. Gluten Free.
Makes 500 ml

Ingredients:
2 frozen bananas
1 handful of ice
1/2 cup of almond milk
1/2 cup of coconut water
1/2 tbsp of coffee powder
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1/2 tsp of cacao powder
1/2 tbsp of psyllium husk
1 scoop of chocolate protein powder

Method:
Chop up bananas and place in blender with all the other ingredients, blend until everything well combined. Serve immediately as both the chia seeds and psyllium husk will swell as time passes! I like to top mine with a few frozen berries and some nuts or seeds for an energizing breakfast or to refuel after a workout.

Mocha Protein Smoothie

WHY AM I ADDING THESE STRANGE INGREDIENTS INTO MY SMOOTHIE?

 

Chia Seeds: These little seeds are amazing, high in dietary fibre, protein, calcium, potassium, iron, omega 3 and contain all 8 essential amino acids. I add them to almost everything!

Coconut Water:  Coconut water is natures sports drink containing the electrolytes calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium in their natural form making it the perfect hydration after a sweaty exercise session or on a hot day.

Psyllium Husk: A gluten-free form of soluble dietary fibre proven to help with intestinal problems and regularity.

Chocolate Protein Powder: I use Sun Warrior Raw Vegan Protein Powder, its Gluten Free, Soy Free and Dairy Free making it hypoallergenic (low risk of causing digestive/intestinal issues) Protein is incredibly important for almost all bodily functions, its important after a workout as it helps with muscle metabolism, growth and repair http://www.sunwarrior.com.au/

Cacao Powder: Cacao and Cocoa are not the same, Cacao is a raw form of cocoa with far superior nutritional properties and health benefits; check out this link for more information http://www.iquitsugar.com/raw-cacao-vs-cocoa-whats-the-difference/

ENJOY!

Spiced Pumpkin & Lentil Hash

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Spiced Pumpkin & Lentil Hash

Gluten Free. Vegetarian. Dairy Free. Vegan.
Cooking & Prep Time: Approx 15-20mins
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
1/3 of a Butternut Pumpkin cut into chunks
1 tin of Lentils
1 cup of Frozen Peas
1/2 cup of lightly steamed Broccoli
2 generous handfuls of Leafy Greens – Spinach or Rocket/Arugula
1 tbsp of Vata Balance Spice Blend (Cumin, Ginger, Fenugreek, Turmeric, Raw cane sugar, Asafoetida & Salt)
1 tsp of Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt
Olive Oil or Coconut Oil

Spiced Pumpkin & Lentil Hash

Method:
Pop a drizzle of olive oil or a chunk of coconut oil in a fry pan on medium heat and add in the chopped pumpkin stirring to coat pumpkin with oil. Sprinkle the pumpkin with a little sea salt & saute for 5minutes until pumpkin starts to soften & brown slightly.

Drain tin of lentils & wash thoroughly to remove residue before adding the lentils into the fry pan with the pumpkin chunks. Add cinnamon & Vata spice blend to the mixture ensuring even distribution on spices. (If you don’t have Vata spice or a similar blend, a mixture of cumin, turmeric & ginger would also be nice.)

Add frozen peas to the mix, along with some lightly steam broccoli florets and the leafy greens before turning the temperature down to a low heat and allowing the leafy greens to wilt and the peas to thaw and heat through.

To keep the dish vegan, dairy free & gluten free serve with coconut yogurt and gluten free flat bread or pita bread.
Alternatively it can be served with greek yogurt and toasted wholemeal pita bread.

PLEASE NOTE: Unfortunately I am a bit of a whimsical cook…a dash of this here…..dash of that there……oh no that was way too much….lets balance it with this… and so on. So when I make a dish for the first time its a lot of guess work until the dish hits the plate & its either a hit or a bit of a flop. This means that often I am not paying attention to exact quantities so I apologize if the measurements are a bit out. I will retest the recipe and adjust quantities if needed however in the mean time If its not flavoursome enough just dial up the Vata Balance Blend and the Cinnamon quantities until your tastebuds are dancing.

ENJOY!

Zesty Pea & Pepita Pesto

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Zesty Pea & Pepita Pesto
Gluten Free. Vegetarian. Dairy Free. Vegan.

Cooking & Prep Time: 5minutes

Ingredients:
3 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp of lemon juice
handful of fresh basil
1 tsp of garlic
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 cup of frozen or fresh peas
2 tbsp of pepitas
Pinch of sea salt

Method:
Place all ingredients in the food processor and whiz until evenly blended. Enjoy as a dip with crackers, on toast with poached eggs and tomato or with zucchini pasta & roasted vegetables.
ENJOY!

Zesty Pea & Pepita Pesto