July 31, 2010 § 5 Comments
I was having a discussion with a co-worker last night who really wants to re-vamp her diet and form some stellar eating habits, however one thing she observed was the black-hole of diet doom that suddenly appears when you have to purchase your lunch/dinner out.
Yes, I agree that in a perfect world, packing your own nourishing goodies will always trump buying dishes of unknown nutritional content & dare I say it, hygiene! However i’ve also found that you can make a concerted effort to seek out those establishments that cater for the health-conscious individual – they are out there, you just have to do your research.
Enter, Iku Wholefood, a chain in Sydney that is all vegan, predominantly organic, with no preservatives, additives or GM foods, and even gluten-free wherever possible. Hello! Their website even gives nutritional stats – check it out.
Today, as a Saturday treat, I bought my lunch from these gods of wholesome fare in between work, and work.
What was that you were saying about tasteless vegan eats?
OMGNOM. What you are seeing is a veritable orgy of brown rice salad, greens, lightly steamed veg, beetroot slaw, bean salad, chickpeas with preserved lemon, pickled ginger & an inundation of fabulous tahini dressing that somehow complements every element of the dish.
I saved half for work dinner, but I can hear it whispering in seductive tones from the fridge, so it’s longevity as a left-over remains in doubt.
Can I secretly divulge that I find cauliflower infinitely boring & tasteless? In this context however, i’ll let it slide.
Shameless plugging of favourite food hang-out aside, I feel that there are many ways in which you can minimise the chances of eating something shitty on the run. It’s not SO hard to be astute in your choices (granted; it is easier in major cities than regional areas) and with a little thought, you can make sure that your meal still complies with your wholesome-foodist ideals.
In general, try to avoid heavy carb-based dishes that may disguise a lot of hidden nasties; such as creamy pasta salads, huge turkish bread slabs, and toasted sandwiches. Not that I want to get all calorific on yo’ ass, however these cream-based, bread-based, cheese-based meals can carry a hefty calorie tag. Instead, if you’re lucky enough to be at a salad bar, try grabbing a mixture of more veggie-based options, with some beans, lentils or whatever else you can lay your hands on. I guess what i’m saying is that it’s better to have a protein + veggie combo than a huge cheesy, fatty, carby hit. Even something like a brown-rice sushi roll & salad is a much better option that a faux-healthy vegetable pasta dish that is well and truly more than a normal portion, and is probably soaked in low-quality vegetable oils and other unmentionables.
Things like frozen, low-fat yoghurt & gelato may also be faux-amis in the sense that low-fat does not equate to low-sugar. In fact, there is probably more sugar in these items than usual to compensate. If there’s one thing i’ve learned, it’s that processed sugar is what we need to avoid – not fat as commonly believed.
A lot of shops also randomly sell pieces of fruit, and in a pinch I might grab a banana and a herbal tea from somewhere to tide me over until I get home, rather than wasting money on a whole, unsatisfying meal.
Any other tips? Have you found it hard eating out while trying to stay healthy?
July 29, 2010 § 1 Comment
Can you guess what I ate for lunch today…?
And slathered in PEANUT BUTTER & CINNAMON!
This was one sweeeeet, sweeeeeeeeeet potato my friends.
I’ve had them coated in PB before, but a guy from college introduced me to the wonders of cinnamon-izing my beloved SP.
In fact, people i’m meeting at college continue to amaze me with their diversity of insight & knowledge in the different areas of health, nutrition and spiritual practice.
A particularly enlightened dude I know was telling us all about how important eating seasonally and locally is, and shared some intense facts about why we should be reverting back to this natural (and logical) method of consumption.
His example was this; eating fruits abundant in summer such as melons actually serves to protect us from the sun as they stimulate the production of melanain. Similarly, things in season in winter such as oranges have a higher vitamin C content to help support our immune systems.
I knew that it was vaguely a good, sustainable, earning-brownie-points-from-nature kinda practice to eat according to the time of year, but this really blew me away!
Doing further research, I came across more compelling info on why we should be aiming to get our fill of in-season produce:
- (Sorry to put this point first, but i’m not gonna lie about my scrimpy, scroungy ways) IT’S CHEAPER! I recently discovered this amazing organic ‘wild food’ earthy, veggie, hippie shop that stocks only those things in season. And despite being all organic, it’s muchos frugos. Ie. A crapload less expensive than regular supermarkets that are shipping-in produce from god knows where.
- Expanding on my buds’ point about the nutritional facts, it makes sense that F & V in summer are lighter, leafier and with a higher water content than those in winter; we need hydration when it’s sweltering, and a different, more dense kind of fuel during the cold winter months to stoke our engines.
- Food that is shipped from a land far-far-away, or worse still frozen then thawed for your convenience, is liable to lose a vast proportion of it’s nutritional content. Fruits from local sources are direct from the farm to you, and are still pulsing with their living energy and goodness.
- It’s easier on the Earth to buy local – less freight, less energy expenditure, less fuels, less packaging, less taxes…you get the picture.
Here is a great website that has a monthly breakdown of available produce. (It’s Kale season, boo-yeah!)
So my consumer conscious little cherubs, that’s just ONE of the PLETHORA of fantastic things i’ve been absorbing from my amazing new friends. Don’t even get me started on class time!
Keep warm, and perhaps try some peanut butter & cinnamon on something unexpected :D
July 26, 2010 § 4 Comments
I’ve missed blogging the past few days; but believe me, I am going to have SO much new insider naturopath info to share with you guys in the future, haha! Yeah but, no but, seriously-like, my brain must have a knowledge baby right now cos that thing is FULL! After 4 days of the course, I feel like i’ve learned more than during the past 2.5 years of uni. May or may not be attributed to my complete disregard for attendance, note-taking and all things studious in former degree, but let’s blame the institution for now.
First things first.
I’ve obviously needed to unleash my inner organisational goddess and plan lots of meals in advance to cater for the long hectic days running between college and work. This meal of red quinoa and greens was something really flavourful, quick and packable to whip up. (Pssssst red quinoa is the bomb! Only just tried it the other day, and for some reason it cooks really nicely and has an awesome texture that I think trumps the white).
Into the mix went (serves 1 regular person, or 2 frugal students):
1/2 cup red quinoa, cooked in 1 cup vegetable stock
1 tspn extra virgin coconut oil
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tbspn diced red onion
small broccoli florets
fresh green beans
juice of 1/2 lemon
celtic sea salt
cracked black pepper
So easy y’all. Cook up your quinoa; sautée garlic & onion in coconut oil until translucent; add greens (omitting spinach) and fry for a minute; add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan and cover for 3 mins to steam; add cooked quinoa; add spinach leaves; squeeze in lemon juice with a pinch of sea salt & lashings of pepper, and enjoy!
I’m learning that simple flavours are so vibrant and fresh, and ultimately supremely satisfying.
All packed up with one place to go; belly town.
My goodness I am so tired right now. My flatmates just got home and handed me my keys…that i’d left in the lock of the front door. Total vague-out moment. But i’m soldiering on!
Looking forward to waking up to this in the morning:
Rice milk, spirulina, spinach, banana, berry, chia seed, cacao smoothie. These things hold you over big time!
Other things brightening my days; sweet potato butterflies!
Anyhoo, I noticed something interesting the other day in regards to stress, and how sensitive we can become to it after living such a leisurely life of, well, leisure. After an unfairly long bout of holidays, and not too much to tax my mind other than choosing between traditional as opposed to tuscan kale, getting back into time-management left me a little shaky and anxious the other night. Scheduling enough sleep, planning meals in advance, organising textbooks & notes, babysitting, working, driving, living, breathing became all a bit much for this frettish gal. I could literally feel the adrenalin coursing through me as I tried to comprehend how I was going to physically be in all the necessary places over the next 3 days… Next morning I woke with a headache (highly unusual), and felt like I was walking around in a fog. Today has been the same, with sore sketchy eyes, sudden onset dyslexia, and decidedly lower capacity for wit and intelligence…
My point is, I realised a) how toxic stress hormones can be & their profound effect on your energy levels/concentration/well-being and b) i have poor stress management!
What do you all do to de-stress? A lot of my new friends at college are heavily into yoga and I think it may finally be my time to take the plunge. Why am I so scared of the stretchy calmness?!?!
Seriously, there is so much I want to talk about, but my head is flopping from side to side in a fairly flaccid manner so I think this is my cue to crawl under the covers.
I’ll leave you with a parting picture I took of a radish, hehe.
July 23, 2010 § 6 Comments
I woke up yesterday ready to tackle my first week of homework with alacrity, when I realised I had yet another hugh-jass blemish coming up…in exactly the same place as the last 2 or 3 Etna-style eruptions. Cue meltdown. I know it sounds dramatic, vain and all things superficial, however some of you may know the utter frustration of a skin condition, especially when you are trying so very hard to be healthy, happy and generally monk-like in your efforts.
I engaged a battle plan after dragging myself out of my ditch of self-defeat, and did what any person would do in my situation – ambled on over to High on Health to consult the experts. I ended up learning something very important – something that I hadn’t considered in my ongoing quest to solve the skin issue.
Picking is baaaaaaad news folks.
Of course, we all already knew this. I knew it myself, but didn’t consider what I was doing as ‘skin picking’. One huge sqeezing attack wasn’t picking per se – that’s what everyone does right? Wrong! Now I realise why the same big angry inflamed red monster keeps emerging in the same place – I have been continually damaging the follicle/deeper skin cells and the whole vicious cycle is on repeat.
Read this article – it’s changed my perspective on caring for my skin.
Because my usual cleanser is also running out, in a spur of un-characteristic impulse buying (…ok, so i’m a consumer whore, what of it?) I also got me a High on Health skin care pack with a hemp cleanser, bee-yummy skinfood moisturiser and neem oil (a spray-on antibacterial miracle product that I am so excited to try). I’ll be letting you all know how it goes!
Yesterday I also had a bit of an impromptu day of raw-dom. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but always fall back on the old ‘too hard’ mentality, which of course is rubbish. Inspired by new college friends who are high-raw (vegan), I want to make more of an effort to eat living foods and dabble in a bit of experimentation.
For breakfast I had my usual smoothie; frozen wild blueberries, small banana, bunch of spinach, 3 tspn chia seeds, 1/2 tbsp spirulina, 1 tbsp raw cacao powder and rice milk.
I went for an awesome long run, and by the time I got back to the park on my big merry loop, I had the urge to fling off my joggers and go barefoot the rest of the way home. I’m a vibrams girl now!
Lunch was experimental.
Raw pizza. I used ground almonds & flax seeds, grated zucchini & carrot & a dash of Tamari to make the base. I then formed it into a respectable shape & left in the oven on the lowest temp with the door ajar for about 3-4 hours. Could definitely improve on this random recipe dictated by my dwindling grocery supplies, but it dried nicely and I was left with a cute malleable flat-bread.
Topped with diced avocado, tomato, red onion, cracked pepper & lemon. Could have used some herbs, and a bucketload of inspiration – but again, the veggie situation was lacking.
Later, I had some sprouted wheat bread (NOT raw, but raw-er than usual bread. Counts, no?) with a big bowl of fresh fruit salad.
Before going out in the night to a comedy show, I sucked back a huuuuuge spinach, wild blueberry & orange smoothie. So my friends, I am quite pleased with my rawr efforts, and hope to keep up this un-cooking aspect of my life.
Speaking of life (check out the segue skills)… as you know I am happy as a happy thing right now with my study situation, and the world in general.
The other day however, I was feeling a bit off, my mum was leaving to move to another state, and I was possibly battling some kind of internal hormonal forces. Well, I had absolutely one of the worst afternoons of my life. Not only was everything going wrong (getting lost while driving, short for parking by 50c, late for work) I also had a huge run-in with a customer at work that left me a blubbering mess. Usually, I’m happy to say that I don’t get in fights, or promote confrontation – I would rather just smile and let it go, practicing my zen-like powers of calm (that are probably equally as infuriating for the unhappy party!). This night, I must have been radiating negative energy because a woman of the heinous-wench variety stopped by to play verbal jujitsu. I took the bait; I fought back; I teared up and the rest is history.
In a funny way, I knew something like that was bound to happen that day. I was obviously projecting a hearty amount of bad vibes outwards, and of course this affects those whom we encounter in greater ways than we care to admit. People sense it – this lady obviously did. On some energetic level we clashed, where on an average day I may have avoided the situation with a more positive attitude.
I am affirmed in this belief because days like yesterday, when I am beaming my little heart out as I go about my business, the opposite occurs. Whilst shopping, in every store I had fantastic conversations with the staff; even strangers. At the health food store, a lovely girl complimented me profusely on my hair, and in another I made friends with a like-minded outdoorsy fitness type who was keen to hear about my course and everything in between. It was an awesome day, confirming that your mood and energy can certainly dictate the ways in which you interact with others, and the situations you find yourself in.
What think you, dear readers?
My, this has turned out much longer than expected. Must dash to cram in some study before work – stay happy!
July 19, 2010 § Leave a comment
Hello my pretties!
This is an exceeeedingly quick update for y’all seeing as I currently resemble some kind of zombie woman who just hauled herself, maggots & all from a rotting grave…yep, just checked in mirror: accurate description. This is because I have been TOO EXCITED TO SLEEP in the face of starting my natural medicine course, and I have to get up again tomorrow at 6am :S
Proud to say however, that I hauled my very first anatomy & physiology textbook home tonight, with the promise of more overpriced study materials on the morrow! I see this as punishment for all those years I spent being a smug arts student, with one $10 reader to buy every 5 years and free print-outs in abundance. Cheapskate no more.
Apart from the downright awesomeness of spending the day encountering things I ACTUALLY WANT TO LEARN (my, what a novel idea), I also wanted to give a shout out to all those supportive boyfriends & girlfriends out there who happily accomodate their respective partners respectively crazy eating habits!
My man Jarad is always taking me to kooky vegan restaurants and smiling as a big bowl of steaming greens is set before him balancing a portobello mushroom steak. He gets right into it, and humours me as I point and squeal at the menu like a person with ADHD…“Oooooooooh, I can’t believe they have….HOMIGAWD LOOK AT NUMBER 28 ITS MADE WITH…can we get the…..?…..dessert! dessert! dessert!”
Tonight, after a loooooong day and imploding stomach (I feasted solely on knowledge today!) he took me to this AMAZING all vegan, all ridiculously healthy place near his house, and proceeded to make my night :)
I got this bowl of madness called ‘Monk Soup’ and it was a treasure trove of mysterious, unrecognisable goodies. BUT there was definitely some seaweed/sea vegetable action, lotus roots, an abundance of broccoli & greens, many variations on tofu, vermicelli and in a really delicious + light broth. SO GOOD!
Guess what was for dessert? RAW vegan cheesecake. Raw. RAWRRRRR! What the hell? I’ve pretty much never seen any raw options in Sydney before tonight and hotdamn, it lived up to expectations. Served with tofu goji berry & coconut ice cream. Um, YUM!
J-rad ordered an exceptionally phallic banana fritter with tofu passionfruit ice cream. He could NOT taste the tofu, only a great big helping of luuuuurve! Yeah, his mind was blown.
Well I reeaaaaally should go get at least some sleep before my 2nd day tomorrow – microbiology 1st thing! Whoop whooop!
Sorry for the hyperactive nature of this post, think all the tofu went to my head…!
July 17, 2010 § 6 Comments
The weather here is amazing today. Glorious. Brings a tear to the eye! Despite being out for yoga + two walks already, it feels downright obscene to be sitting inside typing away. But! A girl needs to shower + eat + connect with the interwebs, so here I am!
These past two weeks have been off the hook/latch/chain, and every day I feel incredibly lucky to live in this beautiful place, have fabulous friends and be able to pursue the things I love.
But first, to the food!
Stage 2 detox powder containing good things like; turmeric (whaddya know!), coriander, aloe vera, spirulina, kelp, and mystery herbs that i’m sure are phenomenal, but taste bloody awful (despite my appreciation for all things green and funky).
Perhaps whipping into a GSB (green smoothie bowl) will rectify? Verdict: can still taste the licorice…yeeeuugh!
This mountain of veg turned into…
A different approach to taking the detox powder was in water as recommended…
My friend and I also hit up a local sea-side yoga class this morning for my very first flexi-attempt. Up until now i’ve avoided it, even in the knowledge that it would probably revolutionise my life (and ability to bend any appendage more than 90 degrees…). But god i’m inflexible! There were moments where i wondered if writhing around on the floor was the only pose we’d be learning today? I realised it was, for me! But seriously it was lovely, and I absolutely want to conquer my fear of bending and stretching at some (later) stage.
Snacked on the JUICIEST organic pear…
And for lunch?
Savoury oats! (originally here) I added sliced tempeh, avocado, cherry toms, chia, tomato chutney, hummus & cracked pepper on top! Down the hatch :D
In other news…
I really feel like I’m getting my shit together to put it so eloquently, and anticipation about the start of my naturopathy diploma is palpable…albeit tinged with the niggling fear of doing something so utterly different for me. The arts/communications/film/language student with a talent for last minute essay scrambles and cataclysmic disorganisation is shakin’! First class on Monday – Anatomy & Physiology. Bring it!
So anywhoooo, all of these life-changing antics have sparked the emergence of ‘pensive Katey’, and today I wanted to share with you some thoughts about everything from lemons to lederhosen (not really, but you’re welcome to let your thoughts wander to German, stocking-clad men bobbing up and down playing bassoon).
Angela did a great post no too long ago about things she believes in, and similarly I often think about all the little beliefs I myself hold on to – most of which have evolved and strengthened in recent, vego times.
1. Eschewing meat/animal products is not only healthy, but also sets in motion a broader propensity for compassion, thoughtfulness and goodwill.
2. Not every calorie is created equal, and certain foods affect people in different ways. Find what works for you, and don’t be disheartened if it takes longer than you expect. Not only do you have to find your zone, but it can also take a while for your body to adjust.
3. Cutting out meat, dairy and a large proportion of processed sugar & gluten, for me, is where it’s at. Fewer allergies, more stable weight and increased physical fitness. Alllll-riiiight!
4. Everything happens for a reason. Trying to look at what life is teaching us in certain situations and finding a positive spin, goes a long way towards creating your own happiness and contentment. It’s all about the attitude baby!
5. Ginger tea & probiotics (can’t be sure which, or combo of both) have sedated my once mental stomach cavity. Give it a go if you have a sensitive belly!
6. I believe in greens!!! There is some potent mystical genius at work within the humble Kale, Broccoli, Romaine…all things vert. A number of ‘burn-the-bodyfat’ newletters and other such ridiculousness I subscribe to, often quote cruciferous veggies as having properties that actively stimulate weight-loss and metabolism. They are just so incredibly rich in nutrients that you can’t go wrong attacking a huge bunch of them everyday.
7. Lemons are the perfect complement to every meal.
8. Early morning is my favourite time of the day; it’s fresh, cool and calm, I am loads more productive, the beach looks fantastic and you get first dibs on the bathroom!
9. Reading the Saturday papers with a huge cup of tea is one of life’s pleasures.
10. I need sunlight to function, leave the blinds open please!
11. You don’t need to be a gung-ho excerise junkie to be healthy – just moving your body in any capacity is hugely beneficial, and it should never be a chore.
12. Cooking without a recipe is more exciting! (Read: more risky)
13. Taking advice is exceptionally hard, even when it’s your own. I’m still working on this one.
14. The more effort I put into things (even if I don’t want to at the time), the more I get out of life. It breeds self-respect, and in turn, motivation. So just do it!
15. If you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t be eating it.
16. Life’s too short to be a tight-ass. (This belief mainly comes into play whilst shopping).
17. There is so much we don’t know about the world, and the interconnectedness of things. Realising that we’re each a community of cells and organisms is simultaneously humbling and enlightening.
18. Posts longer than 500 words are more likely to be skimmed over by your readers. Hey! Hanging in there?!
19. No ‘health organisation’, advertising agency or government knows what’s right for you. It’s up to us to take responsibility for our own health & well-being – go green, go local, go organic!
Is that enough for one post? Perhaps! More than enough motivational goo methinks! Any other beliefs/ideas out there?
Enjoy the weekend! xx
July 16, 2010 § 1 Comment
Did you know that the humble spice Turmeric, giving dishes that recognisable ultra-golden glow is an amazing food to incorporate into your diet? It’s health benefits are huge, and only now are numerous studies linking it’s consumption to lower rates of cancer and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Turmeric is the root of the curcuma longa plant, and closely resembles ginger. You’ve probably seen it powdered, used in curries and other eastern dishes, but you can also buy it fresh. Recently i’ve been adding a slice, along with ginger, to hot water to make a refreshing winter tea – not to mention a super drink of the exlir-of-life persuasion. It has a very mild flavour in my opinion, and you shouldn’t really have to go gagging it down or anything silly like that. If you want a sweeter alternative, try adding some raw honey, or even stevia.
Anyhoo, back to living past 100…
Even before the magic, mystical, miracle properties of turmeric, it is a fantastic source of iron, manganese, vitamin B6, fibre and potassium, and it’s volatile oil (like i’ve talked about before in Coriander for instance) is a fantastic anti-inflammatory.
The real hero however is Curcumin. It’s a compound that is comparable to pharmaceuticals in it’s potency and anti-inflammatory properties, but from that big, unappreciated chemist…nature! It is also a very detoxifying substance and is extremely beneficial for the liver (and in turn, the skin!) and of course contains a hefty dosage of antioxidants to boot.
Only now, after observations as to the significantly lower rates of cancer among groups who consistently incorporate turmeric into their diets (ie. East Asians/Indian cuisine) are people (err, Westerners…) starting to realise the astounding potential of Turmeric to heal.
So, get some into you! I drink it, grate it into curries, stir-fry’s, and also use the powder to make vegan cheeze.
Any other genius ways of incorporating the T-bomb?
Happy Friday! xx