One minute chocolate fix.

February 27, 2011 § 10 Comments

Morning bloginis!

Isn’t sunrise the most perfect, tranquil, refreshing time of day? Morning exercise always starts things off on the right foot (or left, on occasion).

Soak it up.

I’ve got to run and make myself semi-presentable for work, but I thought I’d leave you with a big hit of crack-cao for your early Sunday theobromine fix.

When you want chocolate, STAT!

1/3 c raw cacao

1/4 c raw honey

1 T coconut oil

Mix mix mix.

Add some orange zest, a touch of vanilla and almonds for a decidedly lindt-like experience.

My prescription: pour over pancakes, add to oats, freeze in a bar, spoon from the jar.

Happy Sunday!

 

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Notella, by request.

February 24, 2011 § 27 Comments

After months of attending classes on OH&S, appropriate client/practitioner relations (apparently sexy massage is NOT within the scope of Naturopathy) and how to tell a foot from an arm, we have finally landed on the juicy stuff at school.

Nutrition. Herbs. Homeopathy. You name it, we are brewing it up in our big bubbling cauldrons.

The issue is that learning about nutrition, whilst fun and informative, tends to send the whole class into a strange state of culinary nostalgia. Analysing sugars prompts us to recall allllll the iridescent candy we consumed as children, one-upping each other with tales of cookie binges, 10-slice wonder-bread sandwich monstrosities and inevitably, Nutella. Eaten with a spoon from the jar, of course. Occasionally with some bread on top.

Reminiscing about all the ways we used to eat, snort and swim in Nutella got me thinking that I should try to replicate this kiddie-crack at home, with fewer & far more wholesome ingredients.

Presenting my first attempt at NOTella.

Vegan Notella, for the nut-butter enthusiast.

I was really happy with how this turned out, however it does not have quite the same taste & texture as the revered original. Being exceedingly wholesome, palm-oil free and homemade however gives it tons of extra foodie cred for me. The process of making a nut-butter yourself while requiring a little more time and patience is an exciting exercise for the closet Nutella fiend.

You will need:

  • Food processor fitted with the S blade (you cannot do this in your blender, sorry kids)
  • Approx. 4 cups raw organic hazelnuts
  • 1/2 t celtic sea salt
  • 2 T raw cacao powder
  • 2 T (generous) happy local honey or vegan sweetener (agave/maple)
  • 1 t room temperature extra virgin coconut oil
  • Glass jars for storage

Assemble army of raw hazelnuts; novelty spoon optional.

Lay the nuts out on an oven tray lined with baking paper and toast for 8-10 minutes at 200 degrees C. It’s important to keep checking them as they will burn in a snap if you forget about them whilst thinking of more clever veg*n food puns (chick-un, tofurkey…dad joke central).

Why not sterilize your jars while you wait?

After removing from the oven and allowing them to cool, try to de-shell as many nuts as possible by rubbing them between your fingers or a tea-towel. This gets rid of the extra husk and will make for a smoother end result, but don’t get too hung up about it for every second you waste is keeping you from your Notella destiny.

Place the hazelnuts in your food processor beast and begin the epic process of turning solid, stubborn nuts into compliant, creamy butter.

Stage one: quietly confident.

Stage two: minutes have passed and you’re now quietly confident that I’m a lying vegan scoundrel.

Stage three: 8 minutes and 3-thousand side-scrapings later, you remove Bonne Santé from your bookmarks bar.

Stage four: it starts to come together; your minimal faith in my recipe credibility is restored!

Stage five: FIST PUMP! 12-15 minutes of processing and a suspected case of tinnitus from the perpetual whirring later, NUT BUTTER IS FORMED!

It’s important to keep processing even after it starts to look buttery, because it takes an extra couple of minutes for the nuts to release their luscious oils.

To make it more true to Nutella, I stirred in 2 T raw cacao powder, 2 heaping T of organic honey, 1/2 t sea salt and 1 t coconut oil after the butter had formed. I have read that it’s best to delay adding other ingredients until you’ve processed the bollocks out of the nuts because it can mess with the chemical/magical butterisation, but other recipes call for the addition of oils & sweeteners as you go, so I imagine you could get creative. My additions are also not overly sweet or rich, so feel free to amp up the cacao content and get decadent. Yields around 2.5 cups.

Bows recommended.

The perfect gift!

Now, to see if it will last until Nutrition class on Monday 🙂

Deconstructed vegan taco and other fun stuff.

February 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

Howdy health hobbits!

Random lily for your enjoyment

How awkward are Tuesdays? If Wednesday’s are the armpit of the week, then surely Tuesday’s are the groin. Luckily, today was light on crotch and heavy on awesome!

As you know, I shunned the Pill last week and am a few days into the hormonal battlefield. No landmines have as yet exploded in my face, however I do have a bit of a breakout right now (that I can perhaps more logically attribute to the jar of almond butter I ate last weekend. My bad). I feel quite well in myself, but am staving off visions of acne eruptions, weight fluctuations and the growth of a lady-beard. Stranger things have happened.

Apart from a gross over-analysis of my pill-withdrawl, today was also one of those perfect, beautiful, ordinary days in which I was thankful for such fabulous friends and happy surrounds.

My exceptionally dynamic, vivacious, globetrotting college buddy, Jack, has also started his own blog called Light Minded which you can check out here.  He inspires me daily with his crazy backpacking anecdotes and eternal optimism, so I think his website will definitely be one to watch for anyone interested in becoming a jedi/yogi master (let’s face it, who isn’t?!).

It always excites me to gain more rockin’ cyber buddies.

Speaking of, I also had the opportunity to meet the gorgeous Kate from Green and Juicy today now that she attends my college. (It’s officially the nerdy nutrition epicenter! I love it). My suspicions that we would be like two cacao beans in a pod were confirmed, and I’m claiming it as my first blogger meet-up! She is just as smart & vibrant in real life as on her blog, so if you haven’t already, please head over to G&J for your holistic wellness fix!

Another beautiful college friend also gave me a belated birthday present that took the day up a notch:

I rarely buy jewelery for myself, and somehow manage to receive the loveliest pieces from friends and family. This angel certainly has a special energy and i’m touched by the kindness with which it was given. Thank you Tshu 🙂

The awesome Caitlin from Roost also showed me a preliminary header-design for the blog today too, so that made my day extra groovy. Can’t wait to pimp the old BS; it’s a little down in the jowls.

What else, what else?

You might like this article about finding motivation in the wee-hours of the morning. Getting out of bed with a purpose is the ultimate way to start the day.

And with that completely indulgent recap of my awesome day, I’ll leave you with my din-wah tonight.

Deconstructed vegan millet taco. (That does not really resemble a taco).

  • 1/2 millet
  • ~1 cup water
  • herbamare (or other herbal seasoning)
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • a few organic mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2-1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • salad essentials (greens/carrot/cherry toms/cucumber/sprouts)
  • fresh coriander

Place 1/2 cup millet into a saucepan and toast over medium heat until slightly golden. Carefully add 1 cup of water plus seasoning to taste and bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer for approx 30 mins, or until liquid is absorbed (you might want to add more water depending on how dry/fluffy you like it). While millet is cooking, add 1tbsp extra-virgin olive oil to a saucepan and bring to medium heat. Add garlic, onion & mushrooms & sautee until soft. Add tomatoes, breaking up with your spoon – then add in your beans. Add cumin, cayenne, salt & pepper and reduce to simmer. Prepare your salad by finely shredding your greens, dicing the carrot & cucumber, halving the cherry toms and roughly chopping the coriander. Plate up millet, bean mix & salad topping with sprouts & more coriander.

This had a nice mexican flavour, but was light, healthy & super tasty! Am I the only one who goes nuts for warm food over fresh salad?

Have you ever had a super-charged Tuesday? What little things are making you happy right now?

x

Are you tuning in….?

February 21, 2011 § 7 Comments

…To my guest posts at High on Health?

I am completely honoured to have been given the opportunity to contribute to the amazing stockpile of awesomness that is High on Health. Fran is one of my favourite Aussie bloggers, and her insights into holistic skin care, spirituality and everything in between inspire me daily.

So please hop on over to check out the new material! I may even share some awkward facts about my flexibility (or lack thereof)…

So feel free to support me in my toe-touching endeavours! Monumental.

❤ and goji berries to you all x

Words from Wolfe.

February 19, 2011 § 12 Comments

This morning I slothed out of bed at 6am, ready to make good on my promise of running before work as the sun rose. Once the initial indignation of waking at 6 on a Saturday in the dark subsided, I set out to enjoy a nice 4o minute jog amongst all the other (smug) perky fitness enthusiasts.

I love early mornings, but lately I’ve been sticking to 7am quite happily and losing an hour seemed like a rude insult. I’m aiming for 5am next week, so i’ll have a solid 2 hours of tea-sipping before I have to even think about leaving the house. Worth it? Yes.

Anyway, when I was out jogging a group of older runners came up alongside me and we started chatting. Turns out, they had already done 20kms and were training for an ultra marathon! Respect grand-daddies, respect.

Love the people you meet by chance who inadvertently inspire you.

****************************************************

Now, more about health, less about my pre-breakfasting habits!

As you know I went to see David Wolfe on Thursday night here in Sydney. As I entered the event, I was immediately struck by his charisma and warmth, roaming around chatting animatedly to the attendees. He visibly glows with health and vitality – and that mop! I had ringlet envy.

Nicknamed David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe

I’ll share with you some of the main points I scrawled down in a frenzy of enlightenment:

  • “Being healthy has nothing to do with suffering” – I wish more people knew this!!
  • We should all live by the concept of ‘adding on’ and upgrading our diets, rather than cutting things out in some puritanical, rigid way. This allows you to access the ‘psychology of success’ which rewards your efforts, & focuses on adding as opposed to subtracting.
  • “Success is a refined study of the obvious” – How often do we know WHAT to do, but cannot effectively implement it?
  • Do what you will do rather than what you know you’ll never do – do not set yourself up to fail by creating unrealistic goals/rules.
  • Wearing shoes = oppression! Hahah I love this.
  • Alkalinity/alkaline diet basically grants you a more negative charge (like the earth). The atmosphere is positive and all the vital elements we need will flow more freely into our bodies if we are like magnets attracting the positive charge. Fill yourself up with substances of the earth (pigments/antioxidants/noble substances) and facilitate this transfer!
  • “Get in the way of all good things” – place yourself in the path of opportunity & success!
  • There is too much food fanaticism – drop the judgement. Judgement and denial create riffs & tears in the fabric of reality and deliver us back to the very thing we originally judged and denied.
  • Nutrients inspire noble thoughts.
  • I liked the way David said “My message is the way I live & not more than that” (explaining why he doesn’t engage in things like animal rights activism etc).

 

Super food goodness:

  • David places a strong emphasis on consuming foods with a dense nutritional profile that deliver potent antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other amazing constituents. He believes we are noble creatures and therefore should eat superlative foods.

Punchy crunchy pomegranate

  • Betaine (found in beets) is incredibly powerful for detoxifying as it acts as a methyl-donor and can subsequently convert homocysteine to methionine (high levels of homocysteine in the blood has been implicated in increased risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease & stroke). Ca-ca-ca-crazzzzy!
  • Purple corn has a pigment that acts as an antidepressant & potent antioxidant.
  • Reishi mushroom is a phenomenal immune enhancer and restores balance to the body.
  • Stinging nettle is great for improving bone density & has antihistamine & anti-inflammatory actions.
  • Button mushrooms help lower ‘bad estrogen’.
  • Olive oil – top 5 foods for longevity, as well as:
  • Honey
  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • And of course, Cacao! (According to 109-year old raw-foodist Bernando LaPallo)
  • Foods look like their nutritional function ie. An avocado is a uterus!

  • Asparagus root has shown amazing anti-cancer potential (credited to the immune boosting polysaccharides).
  • A constituent of Astragalus (Chinese herb for immunity) called TA65, has shown remarkable promise for helping to reverse telomere shortening (it is theorised that the cleaving of base pairs from telomeres in our DNA results in ageing & death). INCREDIBLE RIGHT?!
  • Purslane may have similar properties that are being investigated.
  • Cacao is fantastic for asthma!

Raw chocolate treats

  • We have our very own superfood here in Australia – the Kakadu Plum! Thought to be the richest food source of vitamin C!
  • Cat’s Claw & Pau D’arco kill Candida.
  • Sea plasma is thought to reverse genetic defects.

That’s my slap-dash recount of some interesting key points. Now go forth and research my pretties!

xxxx

 

 

What a day.

February 18, 2011 § 9 Comments

It’s one of those times when i’ve suddenly been prompted to consolidate a lot of information that’s been sitting idle, waiting to be put to decent use.

Digesting a surplus of information over some homemade herbal sage tea

Take for example, news #1.

I am breaking up with the pill. (Helllllo 2011 resolution ass-kicking).

About time you say? Hear hear. Returning to college has thrown me back amongst my favourite wizarding folk, and out of the realm of muggles. (Muggles who prescribe you a contraceptive pill at 16 for cramps, without mention of the countless implications for your long-term health).

It may be tough. I may become a big, bloaty, hormone-fuelled demon. But my god will it be worth it. (I wrote an article a while back about the birth control pill here).

News #2 is that I saw an amazing, inspiring, exceedingly wise new naturopath today who is helping me with a few health-related hurdles and of course, supporting me with some Chaste Berry for the impending hormone apocalypse.

Turns out i’m eating way too much fat (i.e all those coco loco antics have to go…I WEEP!) and this is causing imbalances & excessive heat in my system. Even if it is ‘good fat’, apparently I am OD-ing. Wvvvhhooppps. Desserts occasionally replace dinner, what of it?! 🙂

I’ll elaborate further in another post because he shared some amazing insights that I think would interest many of you, but for now it’s on to news #3.

We have officially entered the realm of sorcery at college! Herbalism, homeopathy, counselling. Love getting to the good stuff.

I’ve been picking sage from my garden and steeping it in hot water to make a delicious and nourishing tea, since i’ve been feeling a little congest-o-rama with a head cold (read more about the benefits of sage here). Aloe vera is also beautiful for dabbing on sores/blemishes/burns and can be blended into smoothies, or shot like the hard stuff to help heal and soothe the digestive tract. Perhaps my stubby yellow thumbs will one day turn green?!

Sage

Shiny, gooey aloe

News number #4 is that I went to see David Wolfe speak last night. I want to do a full recap of that too, however for now i’ll say it was very informative and he has a great energy that is totally infectious. He just makes you want to kick off your shoes (synonymous with all that is eeeeeevil about Western Society these days, so we were told!) and stroll around like an unapologetic hippie, nibbling on natures super foods and growing a mop of unruly hair.

A delicious salad made from Kale, cabbage, carrot, cucumber, grape tomatoes, sprouts, tempeh and tahini & lemon juice.

I felt like I’ve only skimmed the surface of all the recent happenings, but i’m feeling redonkulously lazy and under the weather so I’m going to call it a night.

Peace and love and spew-nity to all!

Please regale me with any comforting/less-comforting stories of exorcising the pill demon! Would be much appreciated 🙂

 

Changing your mind about your career is A-OK!

February 15, 2011 § 21 Comments

Roses are red, violets are blue,

True love is scoffing a cream pie or two!

Bonne Hallmark day for yesterday, health warriors!

Being the big dreary cynic that I am I usually tend to boycott the whole mushy affair, taking my cut of the chocolate bounty and deflecting any stray sonnets that may be flung my way (ok, so no-ones ever written me a Shakespearean ditty, but if they did I would throweth it back in their face!). But raining on the love parade is a little mean even for me, so I decided to make amends with a big fat raw banana pie! Cos every man likes π.

I actually didn’t expect this baby to turn out so well, so in usual scatterbrain style I have no recipe. YET. But I do have a couple of (terribly lit) pictures to add insult to recipeless injury!

Kinda dramatic with the crazy purple background. We students improvise with whatever we have on hand…

…much like Bear Grylls, who we watched massacre an entire peruvian ecosystem, by candlelight. My sorta romantic valentine viewing!

I have a serious internal conflict raging in regards to Man vs. Wild. On one hand, I admire his resourcefulness, warrior-like wisdom and supreme indifference to personal hygiene/comfort… But the fact remains, my vegan soul cannot reconcile with his barbaric butchering of so many happy woodland creatures, merely for the purpose of demonstrating survival tactics in the unlikely event that you should wind up lost & alone in the middle of the Sahara. Cheers for the useful tips, Bear.

Here is another gratuitous picture of pie, with floral flourish. I’m embarrassed for myself.

Now that I’ve recapped my valentines pie triumph, I’ll be moving right along. What did you all get up to on Hallmark day? Do you celebrate it?

********************************************************************************

Yesterday, I received an awesome email/question from a friend (who I hope won’t mind me sharing) which I thought warranted a blog post. In a pistachio-nut shell, he is basically feeling a little dissatisfied with his career and educational situation right now, and knew I had gone through the whole quarter-life crisis, changing my life path scenario.

(FYI – for new readers, I was studying Film & French from 2008-2010 in an epic 5 year double degree, but halfway through realised I was not passionate about my studies and definitely had no inspiring plans for my future. I found my passion was health and after some tough soul-scouring, I left my degree to study Naturopathy. Result = happier, more energised, re-invigorated, life-addicted Katey!)

This is a simple outline of the steps I followed to make an educated, and ultimately life-changing decision about my future:

1) Identify your true feelings.

So you feel flat. Dissatisfied. Stuck. Whether it’s your job or your studies, try to identify exactly what part of the situation is giving you the willies.

  • Without reference to your boss/your lecturers/your uni/your finances, do you LOVE and feel passionately about your chosen area of interest or profession?

If the answer is yes, it’s clear that your unhappiness is circumstantial rather than intrinsic. With this in mind, you can work towards pinpointing and resolving the factors that are causing distress. If you have irreconcilable differences with your employer, perhaps it’s time to move on. I truly believe that our job should enhance our happiness, not be an obstacle to it. This may sound like a luxurious worldview, but the fact remains we all have a choice. Nobody determines the details of your life but you. If it means working somewhere nasty for cash in the interim, fine, but don’t sell yourself short and be absolutely confident in notion that you are a jedi-master of your own destiny. Wield the force as you see fit.

If the answer is no, then this can be a little scary. Like, holy basil the thing I’ve been working towards is suddenly kinda lame on closer inspection, scary. That’s ok! I’ve come to realise that very few people maintain a steady interest in one single area forever. Most chop and change around 7 times in their lifetime. Get your comforting statistics on!

So if you’ve realised that you’re deeply unhappy with your chosen area of work or study, move on to phase two.

2) Get your head around it.

I distinctly remember the night I was lying in bed thinking about my film degree, and the full weight of ‘I’m not happy’ hit me. It literally felt like a physical force. A jolt. A shock. Dare I say it, an epiphany? It was a fearsome thought that threatened to unhinge the doors of my comfortable little box in which I went to uni, zoned out in lectures and ignored the bigger picture. ‘Dropping out’ seemed like the habit of vague student drifters, not me with my inflated sense of pride and dogged adherence to the status quo.

If you have these thoughts but dismiss them as too implausible, really question yourself. Why am I ignoring my wants/needs?

The truth is, most people up-end their lives at some stage. You’re allowed. It’s ok. Once you’re honest with yourself and can sit comfortably with your new revelation, it’s time to get practical.

3) Logistics.

There is always a way of doing everything if you truly want to change. Now is the time to consider the boring stuff.

Research.

I immediately scoured the net to compile all my possible options for studying natural medicine. Remember to consider other locations and seemingly ‘far out’ prospects because you never know where your new life may take you! Be open. Ha!

Then, talk to all relevant parties. Phone prospective places of study, friends or family with knowledge/connections/experience, centrelink (or other government financial services that can assist you), universities, the higher powers that be…collate and dominate! Being armed with knowledge is going to make the plan seem less daunting, and perhaps a heck of lot easier than you initially expected. My mum said to me a while back when I was struggling with some random issue (not uncommon!) people are there to help you! Just ask. It’s so simple, but it really struck a chord. People are happy to offer assistance in any way they can – they don’t want to stifle or oppress you (unless they are an evil dictator) and can be an invaluable source of moral support.

4) Embrace freedom and liberation!

It’s intensely intimidating to fathom a sudden exit from the mould – but it can absolutely be done. The mind tends to over-inflate problems and new challenges to momentous proportions, ones which are decidedly manageable upon closer inspection. You’d be surprised of the support you’ll receive from others when you tell them your plans to re-direct the course of your life, and most will probably share similar stories of upheaval and change.

I’m happier than ever doing a new course that is actually interesting and invigorating – what a novel idea! Despite fears that you may be ‘too old’ or ‘too under-financed’ or ‘too scared’ to effect a dramatic change, really ask yourself why? Who says you’re too old? (There was a man who was 75 studying nutrition last year at my college!) What’s stopping you from manipulating my finances so I can get from point x to point y? What is life for, if not to unlock your passion and embrace every opportunity?

I think i’ve saturated you with enough motivational goo for one day, so I’m going to leave it there. But i’d be incredibly interested to hear from people who have made drastic life changes or who have advice for my awesome friend on finding career happiness!

Thanks for reading as always, and as much as I shudder to promote the holiday – you’re all my rosy valentines!

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