The healing power of Aloe Vera.

April 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

In the past week and a half, I’ve regressed to early adolescence and have experienced my worst skin breakout in recent memory. Ugh, ack, grrr and boooooooo! This unprecedented episode of facial disfigurement (that APPEARS to be clearing now, touch sustainably-farmed, eco-friendly wood) left me feeling completely at a loss as to what had triggered such an angry outburst from my body, and I didn’t want to leave the house for days.

As with everything in life, I feel like you can either dissolve into a puddle of self-pity, or take it as an opportunity to learn something, and appreciate the gesture from the powers that be!

So first of all, why did I have this breakout?

It might sound a bit hippie-trippy, but sometimes I think we are genuinely being taught lessons through things that occur in our lives. I chose to look at the horrible, mountainous terrain of my face as just this – the feelings of hopelessness, embarrassment and depression that accompanied the breakout reminded me of just how debilitating acne is for people. It reinforced the fact that we can say ‘oh, it’s not noticable, stop being so vain!’ to people who experience it without a second thought, but until you are there, with big, painful spots on your face, you can’t really understand what they are going through. So lesson #1, empathy, baby!

Secondly, acne for me is usually caused by stress, so the magnitude of this breakout made me think…maybe I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself with work (babysitting in particular – I’ve been getting so upset with the little girl’s behaviour and really letting it affect me) and also things like money, uni and even eating perfectly? Even the stress of having pimples can perpetuate the cycle, because I know when we are happy, content little beans, we tend to experience better bodily functions in all areas.

Can you identify things in your life that are causing undue stress? What can you do to chillllll?

I started by taking a bath (which I haven’t done in years!) with some awesome music, candles and a ton of fluffy bubbles.

Ignoring the fact that our little old student-friendly bathtub had a very slow leak, and I suddenly found myself sitting in the dregs of the bubbebath after 20 minutes, this was such a nice time out that made me realise how much trouble I have relaxing and doing nothing. I find it so hard! But forcing some zone-out time upon yourself is well worth it!

As well as maintaining a diet that is acne friendly (less sugar, greasy food and even inflammatory things like garlic & chilli please!) what can you do to topically treat the acne?

I found something that I will use all the time now in the event of another Mt Etna style eruption…aloe vera!

The gel that comes out of the succulent leaves is what you want to place topically on your skin – it is mostly comprised of water but also has compounds such as polysaccharides and glycoproteins that are believed to speed up the healing process and possess anti-inflammatory properties. I won’t go in to all the reported benefits of this plant, including the exceptional results people have had from ingesting it, but it certainly made a noticable different to my skin when I started using it locally on my spots.

To speed up healing I have been grabbing a leaf from my plant every few days and keeping it in the fridge until it is used up. I cut off a small portion, and after cleansing and moisturising, extract a big dollop of jelly jelly goo and try to form a kind of sealed-in blob over the pimple. The thicker you can get it, the better. You can also use a store-bought aloe gel for this if you don’t have a plant. I have found that doing this at night dramatically reduces the inflammation, as well as cutting the healing time significantly down. I’m in love! Plants heal all 🙂

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3 new recipe finds!

April 23, 2010 § 7 Comments

Hello again friends! Thanks for hanging in there with the sporadic randomness the ole’ Bonne Santé posts! Today I couldn’t wait any longer to post these three recipes that are all mouthwatering morsels of meat-free madness! Even tested and given a seal of approval by various unwilling participants!

UNO: Lately, my attempts at vegan baking have been a little below par, what with the whole nothing-to-bind-the-ingredients issue that comes from eliminating butter, sugar, milk, eggs etc. I made the medicinal super-food cookies to take to my Nan’s on the weekend and much to my dismay, despite baking them longer in an effort to crisp the suckers up, they still formed a big conglomerate of chia/goji goo as soon as I put them in a container. I took them anyway, and my Nan, supreme baker and domestic whizz that she is, suggested I should have used butter to achieve a better cookie. Nan, the point is there is no butter! I explained again that I was doing the vego/vegan/health thing, and she nodded in understanding…whilst simultaneously offering me a sausage to go with my salad. No meat thanks! Oh, I can cook you some chicken if you’d prefer!? Nah, it’s ok, i’ll stick to plants. Alright…I get out the fish. I love her dearly, but I feel strangely misunderstood by my Nan haha!

ANYHOO! This recipe is so so so so so great that I had to share it straight away.

PEANUT BUTTER & FLAX COOKIES OF LOVE

(adapted from Marathon Val)

1/4 c natural peanut  butter

1 c spelt flour

1/4 c flax meal

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 T coconut oil

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 c pure maple syrup

Easy peasy method-eezy:

Mix ingredients in a bowl – mine was a little runny but I found if I left it for 5 mins or so, the flax would bind things up a bit better. I then dolloped spoonfuls onto baking paper and baked at around 180 for 15 mins (depending your crunch factor preference).

These are best eaten fresh, with a big cup of tea & friends to share with, to save you eating the whole batch.

I baked them for the bf, however he didn’t end up coming around so I willingly acted as a human garbage disposal and devoured the lot. I shouldn’t be allowed to bake delicious treats…and was so irritated that these turned out as well as they did – SHIT this is a dangerous recipe!

DEUX: This is yet another recipe from Oh She Glows and is so delicious and easy and fun!

BOWL ‘O’ GOODNESS!

I pretty much followed the recipe to a T, however added in some cooked corn and also lashings of fresh lime juice in addition to Angela’s ‘Better than bottled balsamic vinegarette’. Try this – it’s one of those dishes that is really simple, quite plain in terms of flavour, but it really lets the awesome ingredients speak for themselves, and showcases an array of textures and colours. It was comfort in a bowl!

TROIS: I used this recipe at Ohh May… as inspiration to create my first vegan pizza!

NO-CHEESE PLEASE VEGAN PIZZA

You will need:

  • Pizza base of your choice – I used a whole wheat pita bread (these work well because they crisp-up nicely)
  • Pizza sauce – Tomato paste, with basil flakes & cracked pepper sprinkled over top works well.
  • Toppings – I threw spinach leaves, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus & a selection of roasted antipasto veggies such as artichoke, eggplant, olives & capsicum over top.
  • Faux cheese – Mix equal portions of natural hummus with nutritional yeast flakes, and about 1/4 tsp tumeric. You may need water to thin it out a bit. Basicially I just did this to taste, and as long as it’s yellow, you can’t really go wrong! I just drizzled this over top as well as some super hot chilli sauce that made me breathe FIRE!
  • Baked for around 20-25 mins at 180 but i’m notorioulsy vague with all measurements/oven-temps so i’d reccommend you use your initiative and keep checking to make sure it’s ok!
  • Once out, I drizzled with a bit of tahini, and chowed down until the whole thing was but a glorious memory of the delectable dishes you can create SANS CHEESE!

Have fun cooking my pretties!



Major backlog catch-up!

April 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Oh my goodness, so much has happened on the health front since I last entered the blogosphere! To tell you the truth, i’ve been avoiding intimate relations with the computer screen for over a week now, and strangely enough the bloodshot, crazy-stoner eyeball syndrome that I was mysteriously experiencing has gone away! Ahhh what a horrible irony that my health blogging led me to look like a totally unhealthy, sleep-deprived, addict-type. What’s a girl to do? Well, I’m going to do the unprofessional thing and dump everything into the one post, because there is a helluva lot to share!

First things first. I just got home from an exceptional meal with my work chums, who also happen to be amazing, nutritionally-savvy, healthy-minded people themselves. We decided to go to this organic restaurant in Botany called Agape and I was positively overcome by emotion when I spotted QUINOA on the menu, only my favourite grain in the entire world! This was of course, next to the spelt-based pizzas, pearl barley mains and polenta chips. Extreme. Excitement.

I ordered the Quinoa, Amaranth and barley risotto with basil and fetta. It was fab.

I really wish there were more places that catered for us alternative hippie folk, because even at this pioneer Sydney restaurant the mains were limited to one vego option, and sadly no vegan. I thank you, goat, for your offering of delicious, crumbly fetta!

Moving along, because we have a lot to get through today, class, I have been totally rocking the Tahini-porridge combo the last week or so. Tahini on porridge you say? Don’t knock it til you try it! Goes hard like a hard thing.

Have also been adding sunflower seeds as they contain magnesium, vitamin E and selenium, all great things for our skin by the way!

I found a cracking bargain in a local health-food store on Spirulina and got a huuuuuge 1kg tub for half price. This means I have up, Up, UPPED the dosage to around 3 teaspoons a day so i’ll be hoping to notice results soon with my daily algae binge. Check out the amazing colour – it’s the most beautiful emerald green.

Served with fresh young coconut, which I now open with a ridiculously large cleaver on my kitchen floor like a crazed primate. My flatmates mock me.

Took on some pumpernickel bread with hummus and tomato…have to say that even my tastebuds that are fairly accommodating of chewy, nutty and bland health food flavours, this bread will probably not make it onto my shopping list for a second time. Looks about as good as it tastes – dry, squashed, alien-bread.

Still rocking the cacao porridge of a morning – it’s awesome to make something slightly different every day and look forward to breakfast the night before.

Stay tuned for part two – added bonus for reading; there may be some kind of informative content in the next installment!

What foods can you NOT live without?

April 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

My flatmate and her boyfriend play a lot of very cute, and often very silly games that range from ‘Alphabetical Date Night’ (where they cycle through the ABC’s, thinking of an activity/date idea for each letter) to ‘Celebrity Death List’ where we place bets on which high profile personalities will cark it next! (My bet stands at Hugh Hefner & Prince Charles – double winnings if they die together, in the midst of an orgy with Camilla Parker-Bowles).

I’m in awe of their creativity…and the boredom from which these games must result haha! They are truly legends of the mind-bending, thought-provoking, nonsensical yet highly addictive games. I remember we all played the ‘Choose only 5 foods that you would have to eat forever’ one not too long ago – I loved to hate it. Food is my lover and choosing only 5 lonely ingredients made me weep, bitterly. Hypothetical? I took this to heart.

Bascially, there are some imaginary factors at play; you have your OWN PERSONAL CHEF so think  about food-combining possibilities, because they are amazingly adept at culinary magic. Ok, so 5 foods that would not taste like vomit when mixed together…right. Also, some foods such as ‘BREAD’ include all breads. What? That seems a bit unfair. Well, that’s cos it is.  I don’t make the rules. Also, if you happen to choose an animal which of course I didn’t, you could use ALL of that animal but not what it produces…eg. COW>MILK>ALL DAIRY. Hmmm, still no dillemmas there! But you can’t pick ‘FRUIT’ or ‘VEGETABLES’. Bugger. Oh, hang the rules, what i’m asking is WHAT THE HECK WOULD YOU PICK?

I’ve been a-thinkin’ and it’s doing my head in and making me a sad panda. I don’t want to hurt the feelings of any foodstuff! But…shortlist below.

Ohhhh this is fun!

1. AVOCADO:

I remember when I didn’t like Avo’s. What a deprived cretin I must have been because these are love squared. You know, i’ll admit that i still struggle to just eat a big scoop of plain avocado, naked, undressed, without lemon or another topping, but oh the versatility! I make avocado pasta, avocado dips, avocado salads, avocado smoothies, even avocado chocolate pudding – this to me is a premium fruit. With beautiful healthy fats and fibre and GREEN (yes, that’s a nutrient) these are first in my mind of sensational, amazing, wonder-foods.

2. QUINOA

I’ve spoken about my love affair with this amazing little grain before – it’s certainly versatile. I’ve already made quinoa bread and porridge and savoury dishes, but you could also create quinoa ‘milk’, quinoa pasta and quinoa flour. Winner!

3. CACAO

C c c c CACAO beans! A gal needs chocolate, and what better than the original – only the most INCREDIBLE superfood in existence! I add cacao powder to everrrrrything as you probably know, and my life has done a backflip since realising CHOCOLATE IS HEALTHY. Real, unprocessed, unrefined, un-messed-with, chocolate. Yes. Please.

4. BERRIES

This is brilliant because it includes my beloved Goji berry! I eat berries everyday and think they’re one of the most beautifying and delicious additions to any diet.

5. COCONUT

Probably more in love with coconut than I have ever been with any food. They are truly amazing and i’d be happy to live off them for the rest of my life! They produce water, milk, cream, oil, dried goods… and the shells can double as bra’s, hats, buckets, shoes, weapons… CHOICE!

I also demand to include; CHIA, KALE, OATS, AN ARRAY OF NUTS, RICE, SWEET POTATO, GINGER, BLERRRRRR THIS GAME SUCKS!

Attempt it if you dare – i’m off to seek some counselling, this has left me broken and confused 😦

xxx

Yikes!

April 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

Sorry guys.. messing around with the theme, trying to do my own CSS shizzle, and generally getting all fancy on yo ass has resulted in blog-tardation. I want things to be green! Greeeeeeeeen! Anyone a computer/html genius? Will pay you for your services in vegan super food!

New health finds…and struggling to fit them into an already choc-full eating schedule!

April 10, 2010 § 4 Comments

Surrrrp! Compensating for my total lack of posts by posting twice today! Also seeking any means possible to avoid dealing with the teetering tower of uni work in front of me on my desk…eep!

I’ve started drinking Dandelion Tea. I’ve heard about it’s amazing detoxifying health benefits and it’s ability to reduce water retention. My decision to incorporate it into my daily diet maaaaay also have been informed by the fact that Miranda Kerr drinks it, and look where it got her!!! Own results pending. It’s great though because unlike Green Tea which I also drink, it doesn’t contain caffeine so I can throw back a big mug of it before bed and it doesn’t keep me awake. Oh, but running to the bathroom 5 times a night does…did I mention it’s a powerful diuretic? I’m liking it so far, but it does have a very strong flavour that I personally sweeten with a couple of drops of Stevia. I certainly don’t love it like I do my precious green tea and variations of, but it tastes like…scorched dirt cleansing!

I’ve mentioned Stevia in another post, but I have started buying it again, mainly for the Dandelion tea.  It’s really amazing stuff – I use 2 tiny drops in my tea and it tastes really sweet…unfortunately there is a subtle aniseed flavour that I find a bit off-putting, but I think if you use the right amount in recipes it does a fairly good job of replacing sugar. The reason I tolerate it’s unusual taste is because it doesn’t have an impact on blood sugar levels and is therefore an intensely awesome substitute for every other sweetener. Baby steps, baby steps to learning to dig it!

It’s definitely hard to try and fit all this nutritious, delicious goodness in every day, so i’ve been keeping a food journal to try and make sure I get at least my daily: Spirulina & Chlorella, Green Tea, Dandelion Tea and Green Smoothie. Oh, if you were wondering, I also take a vitamin B12 supplement, and this other thing called Juice Plus+ – I used to work for the company and basically they distribute powdered fruit & veg in capsule form. I’m a little sceptical of the merits of this ‘supplement’ but seriously, the minute I stop taking it I will come down with something, not to mention I’ve seen a marked decrease in illness, seasonal colds etc in the few years that i’ve been taking it. Placebo effect? Maybe. But it’s not doing me any harm (that I know of!) so going to keep on with it for now.

Looking over the food journal, I think I need to eat more RAW foods and probably drink more water judging by the amount of diuretic, pee-inducing fluids I consume. Wanna see?

Wednesday:

  • Cacao oatmeal with berries, walnuts, apple & coconut
  • Green tea
  • Handful grapes
  • 4 small pieces of ‘Incredible Hulk’ quinoa & spirulina bread w/ avocado, almond butter
  • Green smoothie with baby spinach, orange, apple, cucumber, celery, spirulina & chlorella.
  • Homemade vegan satay with brown rice, tofu & vegetables.
  • Dandelion tea, frozen banana pieces & more grapes! (NO GRAPE IS SAFE IN MY HOUSE!)

Thursday:

  • Berry, chia, apple, walnut, coconut oil & coconut porridge w/ agave.
  • Green tea
  • Apple
  • Leftover veggie satay
  • Huge raw salad with steamed corn, 2 slices of Hulk bread with homemade hummus, tomatoes & nutritional yeast.
  • Young coconut smoothie with spinach, berries, spirulina & chlorella.
  • Dandelion tea

Friday:

  • Banana, cinnamon, chia seed porridge with sunflower seeds, apple, almonds & coconut.
  • Green smoothie with orange, celery, spinach, cucumber, apple & spirulina & chlorella.
  • Buckwheat pasta with avocado & spinach ‘pesto’.
  • Few raw cashews
  • Quinoa with fresh chili, lemon & ginger, topped with tofu. Salad on the side.
  • Snacked on a few almonds, grapes & an apple.

Saturday:

  • Coconut milk, cacao & berry porridge with chia, apple, almonds & coconut.
  • Green tea
  • Delicious pumpkin seed sammie with homemade hummus, avocado, tomato, tofu & lettuce. Carrot sticks on the side.
  • Green smoothie with banana, orange, celery, spinach, avocado & spirulina & chlorella.
  • Dandelion tea & few raw cashews.
  • MYSTERY DINNER! But it better be soon….i’m RAVENOUS!

There you have it…my daily eats. I never count calories anymore but I try & plan each day so that i’m not eating a bunch of the same stuff, or heaps of heavy grains etc.

All this talk of food is making me crazy! Better go and sus out the culinary options, but I have a bad feeling i’m running low on stock AGAIN after a mere 3 days. Sheeeeeeesh!

What I ate/shovelled into my gaping mouth.

April 10, 2010 § 2 Comments

Well helllllllooo there! It’s been too long since i’ve had the time to sit mindlessly on the internet for the morning and share irrelevant meal details! This working hard business really ain’t for me. I’ve spent the week running between uni, babysitting and work, thinking far too much about food and giving minimal attention to my whole raison d’être… completing my uni degree. Yikes, so very behind! Actually, all I can think about is the fact that I’M GOING TO FRANCE NEXT YEAR and how the hell am I going to uphold a healthy vego existence in the land of milk and butter?

To make up for lost time, here are a plethora of delectable goods that have sprung from the metaphorical loins of my kitchen. Is that an appetising image?

First up, medicinal cookies from my new, almost-favourite, pretty sensational blog that you’ll find here. Recipe for these babies. These are REALLY GOOD, but if making them, just don’t flatten them too much as they really spread out. Otherwise, this one’s a keeper, yesir.

From the same blog, I tried my hand at making baked potato/sweet-potato latkas. Really needed some kind of aoli or topping, but speedily devoured nevertheless.

Raw dinner of the week! Lately i’ve just been cracking into a young coconut for dessert, sipping away at the amazing coconut water, then feeling like a crazed primate scooping out the delicious flesh inside. I think i’ve talked before about foods that make your skin look beautiful the next day (particularly if you eat them at night) and young coconut is certainly one of them. There is an excellent level of hydration and good fat that comes from one of these sexy nuts, and I think it shows in your complexion.

I also had a green smoothie (have been adding avocado and frozen banana and it makes them smoooooth like Marlon Brando) and a kale salad that I stole from this amazing blog.

YUM! I love Kale, there is something really aesthetically pleasing about its gnarly, prehistoric leaves and little scalloped edges. It’s nutritional profile is also out of this world.

Yes…that IS a Tinkerbell novelty swizzle straw…what?

I made GREEN INCREDIBLE HULK BREAD! With spirulina, quinoa and buckwheat flour, this was one healthy loaf. With avocado, lemon and pepper…

…and also almond butter.

Then a massive Saturday, pre-run treat…cacao oats cooked on coconut milk! So rich and chocolately and FREAKING AWESOME FOR YOUR BOD-EH! I wish I could make this for all of you and you’d be forever converted to tasty tasty oatmeal that is seriously so nutritious and energising! It had oats, light coconut milk, chia seeds, raw cacao powder, frozen berries & topped with apple, chopped almonds, goji berries, shredded coconut & agave.

KA-POW. Going to go on a run now and bust out the energy that this amazing bowl of love has given me! Happy Saturday guys!

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