How to improve your running; spoken by a non-runner.

October 31, 2010 § 4 Comments

Afternoon fellarinos,

Happy Halloween to you! I’ve never been a fan of this all-American affair, however the last couple of years I’ve gotten down off my mangy Aussie camel and conceded that it is actually quite the groovy celebration. All things spooky, kooky and slightly wrong? Yes please! 

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Last night the bf and I attended a fairly rockin’ Halloween shindig after a full day of wedding festivities (p.s NOT OURS you fiends, Jarad’s band mate). We were those awkward and somewhat disappointing guests that come late and fail to adhere to the gruesome & grizzly dress code. Luckily we are scary enough as is, being a pair of genetically-compromised ranga’s and all (FYI: Ranga definition).

Highlights included a girl dressed as Medusa with snakes made of her own hair,  a terminator-robot from the future whose best friend was a talking piece of pie (Simpsons reference – I dearly hope I got that right, after the pains taken to explain it to me! ha) and people trying to summon the ghosts of dead rock stars who turned out to be still alive and kicking. Seance fail. Wish I’d had my camera, but unfortunately you’ll just have to imagine the Halloween obscenities!

What did you all get up to?

I also promised running tips!

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While it’s true i’m by no means a born runner, and have taken an age to get to where I am now, there are a few things that have helped me along the way:

  • Running with a friendThis used to intimidate the bollocks off me, but it is really the best thing you can do for your distance & time. You need to pick someone who is preferably faster than you, and who scares you enough that you won’t drop the pace! I never would have thought to attempt certain hills, routes or distances without the incentive from my awesome running buddy Chels, and whaddya know? You are always stronger than you think.

 

  • Give yourself ‘pep talks’It may sound cheezy, it may feel corny, however come crunch time when you are halfway up a murderous  incline, your heart is in your throat and you are contemplating sliding back down on your steely backside, it’s great to give yourself some motivational love. I like pain is temporary, quitting is forever! Sounds very Arnold Schwarzenegger, no? Added bonus if you say it in a creepy Austrian accent. The other day I was pushing it to the extreme up a monster hill and found myself running a dialogue in my head ofGreat work! You’re almost there! I am so proud of you! You are gonna feel AWESOME when you reach the top! Push through the pain!”  Again, I was as surprised as you about my inner cheese-ball, but it really did work!

 

  • Use visualisationSimilarly to the peppy pep-talk tactics, visualising yourself reaching your goal destination is a handy trick to keep the fire alive. Back to this dreaded hill, I always picture myself as I reach the peak, giving myself a goofy self-five and experiencing the exhilaration of sweet sweet cardio carnage.

 

  • Fuel properly This aspect includes both pre-run fuel, and general diet in my opinion. I noticed a significant increase in stamina when I started eating foods like Spirulina, bucketloads of Kale and pseudo-grains (quinoa, buckwheat etc) whilst cutting back on dairy & wheat. They really make me feel lighter and more energised! Also, before runs I find I need adequate sustenance otherwise I end up weak and sluggish. I either eat breakfast a couple of hours beforehand, then go, or later in the day if I haven’t eaten for a while, I snag a couple of dates or more spirulina. Obviously, you need specific fuel when doing longer runs, but I only ever do a maximum of 10kms, so don’t feel I need extra food for the road.

 

  • Most of all enjoy your workout – There is simply no point spending hours on the treadmill or running the same monotonous route time and time again if it doesn’t provide some level of enjoyment. I’m super lucky in that I live close to the coast, and have spectacular views on my running excursions that leave me breathless and in awe of the supreme natural beauty of Sydney. But if you’re stuck running around a bleak old industrial estate or the flat streets of suburbia, it may not feel quite so enticing. Change up your route every time, and make the effort to scope out areas that appeal to you, making your jog less of a chore, and more of a meditative, mentally clarifying experience.
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What has helped you go further in your chosen sport? Do you find it hard to get motivated to run/swim/walk/skip?

Have a great remainder of the weekend y’all! x

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Socca-it to me.

October 29, 2010 § 8 Comments

More Socca. Socca Socca Socca.

I think I’m so in love with Socca because it’s a big, crispy, doughy pancake that you can practically make with 2 ingredients. I think i’m also starting to realise that although cutting out bread has been one of the best health decisions I’ve made, I still miss that chewy carby goodness to which little else compares.

Oh, apart from SOCCA.

Obviously, the Pure2Raw gals have the monopoly on this amazing circular delight; just recently they even made Socca with homemade sprouted chickpea flour, exceptional!

Stack attack.

With gigantosaurus kale salad. I ate this Socca with lemon juice & celtic sea salt. Perfection!

Speaking of lemons, I was out walking this morning & there was a basket on the path in front of me overflowing with beautiful fresh lemons, obviously surplus from someone’s tree, with a note saying ‘please help yourself!’.

Goodwill lemons, you do not have to tell me twice. I collected three (because that was all my puny stump hands could grasp) and thought how nice it was that these people were sharing the lemony love! Ideas started swirling in my mind about leaving out delicious treats for people to find on random street corners, however I’m sure people would assume the gesture was some kind of despicable plot to poison passers-by and they would remain untouched. Still, would be a fun experiment!

**** this is where I went for a lunch break, and look what happened…****

I have a problem.

This time I added rosemary to the batter. Winner!

1/2 c buckwheat/chickpea flour

1/2 c warm water

generous pinch celtic sea salt

pepper

few shakes of rosemary

1 tbsp olive oil for cooking

Today I also had the fantastic fortune of finding edamame beans at the health food store (albeit frozen). I’ve been on a crazy soybean kick since trying them for the first time at a Japanese restaurant a few weeks ago. A FEW WEEKS AGO MY FRIENDS. Do not scoff at my hideous ignorance, how was I to know that these unassuming little beans were vessels of sheer, salty delight?!

I know i’ve been harsh on soy in the past, but i’m finding that non-highly-processed forms such as miso and tempeh agree with me much more, so for now they are an occasional treat (I actually find tofu especially tasty, so it pains me to know that it is highly processed, and not the ‘health food’ people so avidly claim).

All together on my new kosher chopping block (with miso soup).

I have another announcement; I cannot live one more millisecond without a new camera in my life.

Specifically,

A canon DSLR beast.

I know, I know, I should be investing in a food processor, or better yet, saving to travel somewhere to enrich my pitiful existence…but when we went out the other night & a friend had this pimptastic picture-machine, taking photos in ultra-dim lighting of completely banal objects that suddenly brought a tear to the eye , I decided, this is my destiny.

DESTINY DON’T COME CHEAP!

According to my calculations, if I save a meagre amount each week, I can expect to hold my darling Canon in my arms in approx 75 weeks.

This is not my kind of lay-by. I’m into instant gratification. But perhaps this will be the time that I actually save constructively and achieve a long-term goal. Ha! Do not quote me.

Just so you can witness the beauty, blogs like 😀 and the ever enticing Edible Perspective use kick-ass DSLR cameras, elevating the food to new heights of mouth-watering goodness.

I really value photography as an art form, and feel a strange affinity with life through the lens. I am working really hard to justify this purchase to myself.

Anyhoo, please let me know if you know of the best Canon for someone who wants the absolute elite model, at an absolutely average price. There are so many models and would appreciate any expert advice you can impart!

Happy weekend mes belles!

This lunch had potential.

October 28, 2010 § 2 Comments

Don’t you hate when you’ve been dreaming up a super meal idea for half the day, only to create a mediocre and underwhelming dish that makes you want to time-warp back and just go with a known favourite?

After working the first half of the day, coming home and busting out a lovely beach-side run, and returning home with a plethora of loco lunch ideas, I settled on raw, spiralized veggie pasta with avocado & spinach pesto and extra-sweet, sweet potato mash (with a chocolatey, coconuty spin).

I’ve seen people make choc-pudding-like offerings from sweet potatoes, pumpkins and such so I reasoned that my own unscripted attempt would be a total winner. Who doesn’t love chocolate for lunch?

I assumed it was going to be so awesome, that documenting the whole process seemed like a fine idea.

Peel your sweet tater. Mine was a whitey.

Dice.

Boil.

The result, after adding some carob, coconut oil, honey, cinnamon & a splash of rice milk.

This would have been much, much better with cacao. Carob really doesn’t cut it when you’re hankerin’ for some unadulterated coco action.

I have a hunch that this recipe from Gena would be far superior! Never mind, onto the noodles.

Assemble sacrificial veg.

Spiralize into submission.

And top with avocado & spinach pesto (my original recipe here). It would have been super delicious, except the avocado wasn’t ripe so it didn’t blend into a lovely creamy sauce like it usually does. Boo….erns. I also topped with savoury yeast flakes which are an ACE vegan substitute for parmesan cheese.

Ahh well, you can’t win them all.

What I DID make well was yesterday morning’s breakfast.

I’m loving avocado in smoothies – so thick and creamy and dreamy. This babeh contained half an avo, 2 tbsp soaked chia seeds, small frozen banana, heaped tsp almond butter, 1 tbsp flax oil, raw honey to sweeten and rice milk. Heavy on the healthy fats, for shiny skin & hair, supercharged brain function and to facilitate pretty much every other vital bodily process. I like big, chubby smoothies.

Mmmm all this talk of food is making me hangry. Think I might scurry away to the kitchen to make a compensatory lunch-fail snack.

Hope you’re having a beautiful day!

Thanksgiving in the Southern Hemisphere.

October 25, 2010 § 17 Comments

Howdy haw,

This afternoon I was reading a great post by Mimi at Pursuit of Healthfulness that detailed all the small things she was thankful for in the lead up to Thanksgiving. Apart from the unfortunate element of turkey torture, Thanksgiving in itself is a really nice concept; a national holiday that is not a commercialized frenzy of giftage, rather a chance to express gratitude and participate in a little gung-ho gluttony (this aspect I find particularly inviting).

Dear Australia, please get on the mission to instigate some kind of secular, feast-centric holiday.

Today I am therefore taking it upon myself to bring a little thanksgiving spirit to Bonne Santé, despite Australia not being invited to the party. Because lately, i’ve been thinking about just how thankful I am, for so many things.

I am thankful for this fabulous parcel that arrived on my doorstep this afternoon, from Michelle at Health Food Lover.

I won her MSM shampoo & conditioner giveaway, right as I was lamenting having to part with another sizable sum to replenish my O & M supply. I get so excited when I win things! ‘Tis a rare occurrence. Not only that, but I was touched that Michelle even threw in some lovely extras that included a new stash of carob powder, seaweed and hibiscus tea. How could it be that she knows my love for all three? I do not recall being overly vocal about my seaweed fetish

In this sense, I am incredibly thankful for the new friends I am making via this crazy little blog. An amazing, like-minded support network is just a click away, and these health gurus, goddesses and talented chefs have single-handledly inspired me to make some huge changes in my life.

I’m thankful that the stars aligned this afternoon, and I had all the ingredients on hand to make the Happy Herbivore’s vegan black-bean brownies.

These were baked with a friend in mind, but I’m thankful that I took the liberty of sampling 1/4 of the batch pre-giftage. I’m also thankful that there are another two lurking in my refrigerator for dessert.

I am not thankful that said friend reads this blog, and will now know that he received only half the intended batch of birthday brownies. Burp.

I am thankful I persevered with running, even though I used to have the stamina of a three-legged goat with emphysema. Thankfully, I can now hold my own on the pavement, and am working towards participating in my first fun run in December. I can’t believe that I now love running so much that I braved the torrential downpour on Saturday just to get my endorphin fix.

I am not thankful that I inadvertently entered a one-woman wet t-shirt competition starring me, Katey ‘white shirt, pink sports bra’ Payne. I won, in case you were wondering.

I am so supremely thankful that I have this wonderful woman in my life.

And that she is so happy.

I am also thankful I did not ingest this ballsy little guy who was hidden amongst my dinner greens. He must have been living in the fridge for days, but was still slugging about, waggling his antlers happily. I took this to mean that he too was thankful, as I took him downstairs and set him free on a pot plant 🙂

I’m thankful that I have functional appendages, the right to free speech, and live in a country that (although politically conservative on a lot of fronts) allows me to determine my own destiny. I often forget that in some parts of the world, women are not so lucky.

Thankfully, my hair is the kind of red that falls between blonde and ginger (perhaps with a little chemical persuasion) and I am able to tolerate sunshine enough to walk with the regular folk in the waking hours. I have ranga friends who are not so lucky, and are relegated to a life not dissimilar to that of a vampire. Eating your superfoods sure helps to foster some inbuilt solar protection!

I am thankful for food & friends, together if possible.

And supportive boyfriends who tell you, with eyes watering, that your experimental raw creation was an absolute delight.

I’m also thankful to you all; those people who regularly stop by my corner of the blogosphere (for reasons that shall forever remain a mystery). You make this wannabe naturopath feel more confident and determined to keep writing and pursuing my dreams of world peace/health/domination. I love you guys!

What are you thankful for?

Kitchen Essentials

October 24, 2010 § 18 Comments

Sometimes a gal just needs to splurge on kitchen wares, even if she is throwing the certainty of being able to afford groceries with which to implement said purchases into serious doubt in the process…!

But, as I was discussing with a dear friend last night who is of a similar splurge-happy nature, we must succumb to the pleasures of our consumer-centric, capitalist, spiritually empty society every now and then.

Alright alright, this is unsound logic, however I am trying to practice simultaneous restraint and nonchalance in regards to my spending habits. What does money really matter anyway? (I am looking at you sternly, willing you to agree!).

Lengthy, nonsensical justifications aside, I finally invested in a new chopping block! I would hate you to see the state of the manky old plastic one our household has been communally defiling for the past 3 years (yeeeeeesssh) so it was time to unveil a beautiful, sustainably produced wooden ‘kosher’ board for fruit & vegetable matter only! Ahhh, no more residual salmonella! Luxury I tell you.

The next item has been on my raw-foods wish list for some time.

Obscure angle. Can you guess?

Swizzle swizzle swirl.

Watch the veggies curl!

Yes my dears, it is a spiralizer, maker of raw pasta and loopy salad creations!

The more I incorporate raw foods into my diet, the more i’m realising the importance of having a few speciality kitchen instruments on hand to avoid relying on just a salad for every meal. There’s nothing wrong with a trusty tower of leaves, however wouldn’t you be more compelled to dive headfirst into a bowl of intricately carved carrotini noodles?

I used the above spiralized veggies to create an asian-inspired noodle dish using a delectable dressing from Gena at Choosing Raw. No photo, but it was a hit!

More kitchen inspiration struck after reading rapturous accounts of Socca baking, and the multitude of applications of this wonderful flat-bread-type treat over at Pure2Raw. These two gorgeous twins aways succeed in making my mouth water with their beautiful raw creations, and they have been going Socca crazy (in the best possible way!) lately. I needed to try this bread/pancake hybrid.

Firstly, provincial french purists will probably turn in their graves when I tell you I made a number of monumental deviations from the traditional recipe.

Secondly, I didn’t have any garbanzo (chickpea) flour on hand; Buckwheat it was. I also don’t have a fancy skillet pan that I can transfer to the oven without the handle melting into a big toxic plastic puddle, so I had to pan fry one side, then slide it off onto some baking paper under the grill. Worked a treat.

I made a Socca ‘pizza’ by cooking it, then adding tomato paste, oregano, spinach leaves, fresh garlic & savoury yeast flakes. I was impressed! It satisfied my cravings for a thick, bready lunch, but it’s gluten free with the nutritional benefits of buckwheat! And it’s kind of like a lunch-pancake. Breakfast foods out of context always excite me.

FYI – I used 1/2 cup buckwheat flour, mixed with 1/2 cup warm water + salt & pepper for the batter, then cooked in olive oil via the above method.

Today I obviously wanted more Socca, and decided to take lunch-pancake to the next level.

Banana/tahini/honey/cinnamon Socca meet the readers, readers…quit licking the screen!

Yeah, lunch was grand.

Have you had any delicious food moments this weekend? What kitchen appliances are you lusting after?

 

Homemade granola addiction.

October 22, 2010 § 7 Comments

Greetings!

Thanks to all who entered the dialogue on women’s issues last post. Here I was feeling all bashful about typing out the words ‘menstrual cup’ and hitting publish; turns out you all live for the gory details! Hell, next time i’ll just cut to the chase and dive straight into STI’s (with pictorial accompaniments, muaha!).

Maybe not.

BUT now that i’ve whet your appetite, here are some delicious eats from the past few days.

Can you believe I actually FORGOT how to make porridge yesterday morning? These were my first batch in months, and now that the weather is warming up I thought I’d ditch the ice-cold smoothie tradition and re-introduce oats, just to live by absurdist logic.

I have a feeling the Spirulina shakes won’t be gone for long though; you know what they always say – 3-million micro-particles of algae a day keeps the doctor away!

My signature bowl of taste confusion. Beans, quinoa, tomato-tahini sauce, grated salad, ciltrano…some seaweed just to squeeze one more ethnic influence in there.

Mixed together is some kind of surreal, super-food dream!

I’ve also been training (flogging) my inner domestic goddess and just so happened upon a dark, dangerous culinary secret .

Granola is a gra-no-brainer.

Seriously, can’t go wrong.

I’m not even going to insult your intelligence with an actual RECIPE because, being the talented and delightful chefs that you are, i’m sure you can follow your tounges 🙂

I used:

Oats ~2 cups

Shredded coconut

Almonds

Cashews

Pepitas

Cacao nibs

Chia seeds

Sultanas

Blackstrap molasses

Honey

1 tsp cinnamon

Coconut oil

You basically mix all the dry ingredients together, barring sultanas and in a separate bowl combine enough coconut oil, honey and a small amount of molasses (it has a strong, rich flavour) to roughly coat the oat mixture.

(NB: You can also use maple syrup or any other liquid sweeteners of your choice).

Spread the mixture onto a sheet of baking paper on a tray & cook for around 15 minutes at a fairly high temperature, perhaps 200. Judge by the furnace-like capacities of your oven and CHECK, CHECK, CHECK every 5 mins or so. Burnt granola maketh for a broken heart.

Bake until golden. Your abode will smell like a magical gingerbread house & you can expect lost children from the woods to throng at your doorstep demanding treats.

My advice; tell them to rack-off.

Once golden, remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes or so. It may clump together, this is normal. It’s the original crunchy-nut cluster before it became an unrecognisable sugar-nut-cluster.

Add your sultanas back in, and serve with ice cold rice/almond milk, sprinkle atop hot oats, banana soft-serve, or just go at it dry like some of us are known to do.

I would suggest gifting some of it away however, as my hand appears to have an auto-pilot, granola-eating function that I just can’t for the life of me override! You too may find the same inexplicable tendency…!

That’s it from me, but have a fabulous weekend all of you x

Bonne Santé sealed section.

October 20, 2010 § 28 Comments

Hiya folks!

Intriguing title no? Are you reminded of those girly teen magazines that wooed you with their TOP SECRET sealed section, that was apparently so lewd and outrageous they needed to contain the vulgarity within a separate little booklet? We’d RIP off the perforated seam and be greeted with such naughty topics as periods, boobies and sometimes even s.e.x! Ultimately we discovered it was all rubbish & tossed it aside whilst the boys took their opportunity & poured over every last piece of gross girly trivia. Typical.

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Well guys, if you’re reading this over the shoulder of your lovely lady friend on the sly, you’re in for a treat! I have a few COMPLETELY X-RATED women’s matters to discuss, so for now, pretend you’re not dying to read the gory details and check back later while she’s not looking!

First things first, The Pill.

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There have been things cropping up in my life lately that seem to be encouraging me to consider a life without the cure-all, mystical, magical, miracle Pill. If you’re anything like me, you could have been prescribed it at a very young age, perhaps to combat acne or maybe for menstrual cramps, if not for sexual activity. Either way, I sure as heck was not given an in-depth low-down on the facts or long-term implications of relying on this artificial mode of contraception, and today I find it slightly at odds with my whole health philosophy.

Why? A simple reason is that it completely artificializes our monthly cycle. I am so out of touch with what goes on in that department, that I wouldn’t have the foggiest about ovulation, hormone fluctuations throughout the month, or when I am fertile, or barren as the hills. This level of disconnection from such a vital, wonderful process makes me a little sad.

I also realised the other day that I don’t actually know what’s in the pill. I mean, there’s the hormones sure, but what composes the rest of the tablet? What exactly am I ingesting? Have YOU ever seen specific ingredients on the packet? Yikes. For a gal who takes so much pride in putting happy wholesome foodstuffs into her body, this again seems to be a major aberration.

Other hints from the universe have been flooding in, challenging me to think about my exact motivations for relying on the pill so heavily. Meghan Telpner recently broached the topic (again) with an excellent series detailing a multitude of interesting (unsettling) facts about our little white friend, and alternative, natural methods of contraception. Here is the link to the first post in the series; no doubt you will avidly read on.

I don’t mean to make people feel uncomfortable about their choices because after all, I am on the pill myself, and am struggling to reconcile with the notion of ‘quitting’. I’m scared for my skin, for the months and years it may take to once again balance my hormones, for the absence of so much convenience, however I strongly believe it is something worth considering – taking responsibility for your health, as we know all too well, does not end at simply following the advice of your doctor.

In coming off the pill, there are many methods of support, and means of minimising the hormonal crazies. Of course, Fran has enlightened us greatly on the topic, and worthwhile articles can be found in abundance on the net. Herbs and nutrition can play a huge role in regulating hormones, as can relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga. When I finally take the plunge, I am going to work with a homeopath/herbalist/naturopath to help me be mentally & physically, and give my body every possible chance of regaining a natural rhythm.

Worried about contraception? Pas de problems! I’ve read about the Lady Comp a few times before, but the brilliance of it has only recently hit me. It is a device that takes your temperature each morning, and therefore charts your fertility throughout the month (your body temperature changes according to fertile/infertile times). It is 99.3% accurate. Amazing no?

The catch? Pricey. Too pricey for me, right now anyway. But depending on the pill prescription you have, the losses could easily be recouped in X amount of time. And it’s pretty darn cute; green light means GET IT ON! Red light, time for a platonic foot massage.

Don’t leave yet, because I still have one more super awkward facet of feminine hygiene to delve into before we go. It’s an amazing alternative to pads & tampons, and suppressing your EEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWW response for a moment, I think you may agree it’s a wonderful, sustainable, economical option.

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Yes, it’s a tiny cup. A tiny wee cup that goes up your you-know-where and collects your you-know-what. But really, is it any weirder than corking the flow with a creepy little bleached torpedo? Or wearing an irritating, cumbersome, absorbent flap? And look! It comes with a non-threatening drawstring bag & in a delightful range of colours!

This my friends, is the Lady Cup. It’s really pretty nifty if you read about it, and the savings for your wallet and the environment by embracing this re-usable, perfectly safe & effective monthly accessory are immense! Seems that Australia is a little behind in the feminine hygiene department, and we have to source them from the other side of the (forward-thinking) world, however I’m on the mission, and let me know if you have had any experiences with the lady cup (or products of that ilk). Also check out the Moon Cup and Diva Cup, they may ship to the land down under.

Speaking of cool new toys, there is also an awesome giveaway from fellow Aussie blogger, Robyn at Girl On Raw. She is bestowing a pack of 4 beautiful Glass Dharma straws on an extremely lucky reader; straws that I’ve been ogling for many-a-month on blogs that use these stylish creations to add that small je ne sais quoi to their smoothie experience. Look how pretty they are!


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Click here to enter y’all.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed the Bonne Santé sealed section & your brain is sufficiently full of all things wo-manly and wonderful. I apologise for the lack of boob-related-material, however I’m sure your local pre-teen magazine stand at the newsagency could furnish you with all the gruesome details in that respect. Would love to hear your thoughts on these issues & please share if you have already taken steps towards embracing more natural methods of contraception, fertility & flo’s monthly stint!

xx


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