May 4, 2011 § 16 Comments
Somebody pinch me, I feel like i’m in the midst of the most amazing dream! (sadly not involving a self-replenishing mini-bar full of coconuts).
I HAVE THE INTERNET BACK AT HQ! Sure, I’ve had my iPhone to receive emails and lurk on Facebook, but there really is nothing quite like stalking food blogs in giant high-defintion iMac glory. Two months without blogging capabilities has left me a broken, brittle husk of a girl with little direction or purpose in life… Meals just aren’t the same when they’re served hot; I prefer them luke-warm and mushy after 30 minutes of careful photography and garnish rearrangement!
But here I am, back for all your nutty naturopathic needs and non-educational entertainment!
Seeing as I didn’t expect to have internet again, ever, I don’t really have any relevant photos or meaningful topics to share with you this evening. To add to the wackniess, I just ate enough raw cacao to send the easter bunny into cardiac arrest. BZZZZZZZZ!
The gorgeous Paije from Veggie Monster tagged me about a century ago in a ‘7 random things’ quiz, so I thought that would be awesome fodder for my first foray back into blogsville.
Say ‘Beer Can’. Say it again.
Now you’re saying ‘Bacon’ like a Jamaican!
2. This week I rode my bike to college 2 out of 3 days. ‘Ride’ is loosely defined as being mounted on the bicycle in forward motion at least 50% of the time. I think I just scraped through!
I also embraced shabby chic by wearing my daggiest sports gear, and bringing down the collective style of my class by about 100 points. Function trumps form!
I was completely inspired by the crazy Amanda of Me Vs the Bulge, who is a DEMON and started riding her bike a few months ago to work. It’s greener, and gets me a good 1.5 hours of exercise each day that would normally have been spent crammed in next to snotty school kids and cologne-covered businessmen on the bus. My thighs were weeping tears of lactic-acid by the end of day two, and I need to stop veering out randomly into the path of oncoming traffic but with a bit more practice I may just have found my new 2-wheeled obsession!
3. This week I tried mixing chopped young coconut flesh into my buckwheat porridge. It was a win!
If you’re wondering, buckwheat is probably my favourite gluten-free pseudo-grain at the moment. It’s exceptionally easy to cook (1:2 ratio grains to water), incredibly versatile, and has off-the-charts nutritional value!
4. A few weeks ago, my buddy at college and I decided it would be a fun experiment to drink a garlic cocktail every evening for it’s antioxidant and anti-microbial activity. Here are the ingredients:
The idea was if we drank a superfood elixer of the most potent kind each night, somehow we would become superhuman disease-fighting maniacs within a week and live forever. Worked in theory; in reality I destroyed about 70% of all my tastebuds and acquired a sexy garlic scent that didn’t win me many friends. Food experiments are fun!
5. It’s hard to return to fending for yourself after an indulgent trip home to see family. Someone tuck me in at night, stat!
6. In Perth, my new friend Sarah took us to the most amazing raw vegan cafe ever. Sydney, lift your game! I don’t think there are any dedicated raw restaurants here, whats up with that?
Dear lord, this smoothie was out of control. Banana, cacao, ESPRESSO, almond milk, maca…pure unadulterated chocolatey bliss.
I had the raw pizza with some kind of mind-blowing carrot and coconut salad that I could never hope to replicate.
There was also raw flatbread, salad and mango salsa action.
I definitely recommend The Raw Kitchen in Fremantle if you’re ever on the West-side.
7. I’m currently eating homemade sauerkraut in front of my computer at 11pm.
Don’t act surprised; at least i’m not sucking on a big clove of garlic 🙂
So so so excited to resume normal programming now we have the sweet interwebs back up and running. I’ll have a post for you tomorrow about how I’m going after almost 3 months off the Pill and also some other naturopathic goodness.
Until then, peace, love and pickled cabbage to you all! xx
April 24, 2011 § 22 Comments
You know when you’re little and you break the family heirloom your great great grandmother squared made from toothpicks on her deathbed? My instincts were always to try and patch up the picasso-like pile of splinters as best I could, arrange my face into a bouquet of innocence, walk swiftly in the opposite direction and pretend it was all a bad dream.
Similarly, I am choosing today to skirt around the glaringly obvious issue of complete and utter blog absence over the past month. If I don’t apologise, there is no problem. Right?!
Unfortunately, I never filled you in on how the story ends. It ends with me running wildly back to the closest family member and, through impassioned snot and tears, regurgitating every detail of my guilt and offering an explanation so long said family member would have forgiven me by the time I came to my whimpering conclusion.
I’ll spare you the essay, but basically our internet modem broke and we’ve been chasing *unnamed service provider* ever since trying to arrange a replacement. When the net dies, my life takes a turn for the hermit. I’m actually blogging from the luxury of my mum’s internet right now (in Perth, waheyyy!!) but hopefully I’ll arrive home next week to a shiny new high speed modem. Vibrams crossed!
SO MUCH has happened in the past month or two. I’ve spent lunch breaks discussing buddhist philosophy, experimental nutrition and meditation with my eternally inspiring college buddies, evenings contemplating The Art of Happiness, and weeks riding a crazy raft of ch-ch-ch-chaaaange!
I’ll update you on the highlights whenever I have a spare 4 hours, but for now let’s embrace the present. Nothing like it!
I’m in the wonderful city of Perth, on the west-siiiiiiide. Dig it. I am so insanely grateful to have family here now and a subsequent excuse to invade at any given moment.
Mum and Andrew chewing up the catwalk, green bags in hand.
Speaking of grateful, mum and I were compiling a list of all the reasons we are insanely, monumentally lucky yesterday, after we had a huge whinge about various trivial, self-indulgent things that we later realised are, in essence, tripe. It’s a nice exercise to turn around a gloomy mood by listing all the reasons we are so incredibly happy and fortunate.
I’ll start 😀
I’m pretty chuffed to have a functional face, limbs, spine, kidneys, liver, spleen. They all go pretty damn hard, and are fairly amazing if you ask me.
I’m also stoked to be surrounded by fresh organic food and passionate foodies. The ability to rock up to a farmers market, survey the scene, paparazzi the produce and fondle the fruit makes me one happy kidney bean.
I may have violated the red onions, m’bad. THEY JUST LOOKED SO JUICY!
This also made me salivate. $5 bananas? Unheard of! Are you feeling me Aussie residents?!
I am thankful for an abundance of raw, organic garlic, which I have been crushing and chugging on a regular basis to keep me perky. And by perky, I obviously mean stinky like a bucket full of chunder. (Now THERE’S an under-utilized word. Chunder. Bring it back!)
You know how I feel about sexy, leafy greens.
A pomegranate in its natural habitat. (Probably should explain that we were at a local market in Perth that has a kick-ass community garden with delicious fruity candies ripe for the picking).
A gorgeous man rocking out on the harpsichord.
Ma is thankful for double shot espresso. My adrenal glands are thankful that I never cultivated the habit.
Lucky to have delicious fresh ingredients on hand to whip up tantalising vegan fare. Quinoa, kidney-bean, veggie, seaweed and tomato stew? I think so.
So extraordinarily lucky to have been taken on my yearly shopping outing with mum today. Material possessions in no way support happiness, but they can sure as heck make you smile! Especially when you score an amazing Lululemon hoodie complete with ruffles and thumb holes. I think I’ve written with zest before about my love affair with Lululemon, not only for their quirky, flattering sportswear, but also because their entire business philosophy is aimed at supporting the goals and aspirations of their staff, and treating their clientele with unheard-of courtesy and warmth. It’s love 🙂
Other things making the thankful list included:
- Having a kick-ass family who love and support me through thick and thin, and veganism 🙂
- First-world living standards.
- Freedom (of speech, sexuality, career, education… to be a ranga sans persecution!)
- Dates (both the dried fruit, and the sexy dinnertime variety).
- Comprehension, cognitive function.
- Heston Blumenthal.
March 11, 2011 § 19 Comments
Well hello there!
Hope you’re enjoying this magnificent Friday! It’s my one day off from both college & work, so I am smushing as much as humanly possible into the waking hours. It’s glorious to have a whole day to fawn over food, stare at the sea and open random chapters in my nutrition textbook that look vaguely interesting. Not exactly efficient study, but the book and my eyes are simultaneously open so that’s a win, right?
You know what else fat-ass nutrition books are good for?
I am officially too cheap to fork out my spare change for a gym visit, so I’ve taken to creative strength-training in the comfort of my lounge room! Nothing will ever replace a gym sesh, and I dearly miss sweating, grimacing and grunting in front of an audience of buffcore dudes… However textbook squats, armchair leg-curls (releasing & retracting the recliner foot-rest) and early morning sit-ups (hauling ass out of bed) are meeting my extensive body-building needs nicely.
Moving on from my rippling biceps, I thought i’d stun two birds with one stone (no animals were killed in the making of this cliché) and write a post on sugars and artificial sweeteners that may also help me cement it in my tiny walnut brain!
Y’all already know my opinion on artificial anything. If it’s powdered, processed or packaged, it probably won’t vibe with your insides. Your body doesn’t recognise number 950 or colour 245 or white powdery flour, so it will either react, store it in some unpleasant way or alter its physiological function to cope.
Often, artificial sweeteners cause the body to respond in ways that oppose our original intention. You may buy a diet soda with zero sugar to save on calories, but because your body is receiving a substance without an energy pay-off you may end up eating more later to ‘compensate’. Not to mention many artificial sweeteners have a questionable safety status. If something is a potential neurotoxin and causes rats to grow ears on their toes, I sure as hell don’t want anything to do with it. No thank you, huge-junk-food-corporations-who-are-funding-their-own-scientific-studies. No. Thank. You.
Axis of evil board of directors:
- Aspartame (number 951)
Aspartame is made through the combination of two amino acids, Phenylalanine and Aspartic acid, with methanol. It is commonly used to sweeten drinks, desserts, chewing gum, cookies and bakery goods. Nutra-Sweet and Equal are brand names for Aspartame. It has around 4kcal/g which is the same as sucrose, however it is 180-200 sweeter and thus less needs to be used. From the website of Dr. Mercola, “Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death.” Mmmmm tasty. People with PKU (a genetic disorder in which individuals cannot metabolise Phenylalanine) must also avoid this sweetener, and the rest of us would be wise to as well. Studies have linked it’s consumption even at ‘safe intakes’ to an increase in incidence in lymphomas and leukaemias in rats, not to mention the fact that when combined in the small intestine with the enzyme chymotrypsin, methanol is released and breaks down into formaldehyde (that’s a neurotoxin FYI!). I could go on, but I think you’re getting the idea.
More real food!
- Acesulphame-K (number 950)
Also known as Sweet ‘n Safe (how benign) and is 150-200 times sweeter than sugar. It is usually combined with Aspartame to give a more palatable flavour and contributes no calories as it is not digested by the body. It the U.S, it is approved for use in yoghurts, chewing gums, gelatins, drink mixers, puddings, baked goods, candy, lozengers etc. Concerns have been raised about it’s status as a possible carcinogen (linked with lung and breast cancer especially) and negative effects on cholesterol levels. This was a nice little tid-bit of information I found; “To add to the supposed Acesulfame potassium dangers, its manufacture consists of several substances and one of them is Methylene chloride. This very agent is employed in industries as paint stripper and as a de-greaser or propellant agent.” Doesn’t that just make you want to throw back a cold diet bevvo?
- Cyclamate (number 952)
It is 30-50 times sweeter than sugar, but is often used synergistically with other sweeteners for a more appealing flavour. Regularly used in cordials and soft-drinks, it is currently banned for use in the US (but 55 other countries still approve it as an additive). Studies linked it’s consumption to increased risk of bladder cancer in rats, however an appeal has been lodged by manufacturers to lift the ban as they have been unable to reproduce the negative effects in subsequent trials. Funny that.
My kinda schweet
- Saccharin (number 954)
Saccharin, also known as Sweet and Low, is the oldest alternative sweetener and is approximately 300 times sweeter than sucrose. It is made from crude oil (are you drooling?) and has similar properties and effects to Cyclamate (which is banned, remember?). Studies have also linked it to an increased risk of bladder cancer, yet they were later labeled ‘weak’ and ‘inconclusive’. Inconclusive does not buy my trust, paid-off pseudo-scientists! It is generally used as a table-top sweetener as is becomes bitter through heating.
- Sucralose (number 955)
Sucralose is what we know as Splenda, and is over 600 times sweeter than sucrose! You’ll find it in all the usual suspects; drinks, chewing gum, jams, frozen dairy desserts, sauces and syrups. It is at least based upon a recognisable substance (sugar which has been chlorinated) however it has possible implications for the thymus and many believe it has not been adequately researched as it is seen as more ‘natural’. I found this about it’s absorption in the body; “The absorbed sucralose has been found to concentrate in the liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract. According to The Sucralose Toxicity Information Center, sucralose is broken down “into small amounts of 1,6-dichlorofructose, a chemical which has not been adequately tested in humans.” A big fat hmmmmm.
I’m going to leave it at that today, as these are the main baddies in that big mouth-puckeringly sweet charade. That, and my font has gone bananas and I can’t fix it. Yikes.
I’d be interested to hear how many people knew about these sweeteners and their implications, as I sure as hell didn’t realise the extent of their collective eeeevil before studying it in nutrition.
Au revoir for now!
March 9, 2011 § 11 Comments
In the spirit of posting recipes like a champ, here is that drool-worthy almond butter recipe that I promised you. Please note the duration between aforementioned promise and delivery <one week. Win!
I also have a small confession to make…
This batch was really obstinate. After 1 hour, 200 expletives and a smoking food processor later, it STILL did not cream like the first lot. I stood over it as it skidded about in the barrel, refusing to release its precious oils, alternating between gentle coaxing ‘Come on! You can do it! Almost there!’ and explosive bursts of insults ‘You call yourself a gourmet butter!? I shoulda made PEANUT!’.
It was immune to my attacks, and I eventually admitted defeat. (Not the first time Almond butter has gotten the better of me!)
I’m pretty sure the reason for the semi-fail was to do with roasting time. Please roast your nuts properly before processing! I became much too impatient and removed this batch from the oven prematurely, and I think that spelled nutty disaster.
I know this recipe can be great, because the other day when I made it it worked a treat. So just keep yer mitts out of the oven and you’ll be cleaning almond butter from your ears in no time! (It’s a whole body affair).
Honey-roasted Almond Butter
(Inspired by, and adapted from Ashley’s Roasted Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter)
- 3 c raw almonds (pesticide free if you can!)
- 4 T organic honey
- 1 T extra-virgin coconut oil
- 1 t cinnamon
- 3/4 t celtic sea salt
Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Line a tray with baking paper and add almonds, coating with 4 T honey. Bake for ~15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Watch them like a crazed hawk as they can start to burn in an instant, if not given enough attention (high maintenance baking).
Invest in colourful, fun-sized jars; arrange casually on bench. Oh hey, camera!
Pull out your almonds, but not too soon! They will be a huge sticky conglomeration of lurrrve. Allow to cool for 10-20 minutes, or until rock solid. Speaking of rock solid, I should warn you that at this stage the nuts will be…rock solid. Grab a spatula, put your back into it, and chisel the nuts off the paper. Place in food processor and blend for around 15 minutes, until it has gone through the various stages of compliance (better explained here).
You will know when it is ready. You’ll hear a dainty little almond-like sigh of defeat, and the butter will become smooth, shiny and drippy. At this stage, add the coconut oil, salt and cinnamon and whiz to combine.
Spoon into a worthy vessel and debate whether you REALLY wanted to send this off to a friend/family-member/co-worker.
Didn’t think so.
Enjoy your night! x
March 8, 2011 § 14 Comments
I’m generally a punctual, reliable and downright conscientious individual.
With recipes however, an evil dark side lurks. You may have observed that promised how-to’s tend to evaporate into oblivion and are never spoken of again.
It’s certainly a pet reci-peeve of mine, and thus I blog before you today with all good intentions of nipping this ghastly habit in the bud.
My peace offering:
Raw choco-banana pie!
I originally made this raw banana pie to share with my man on Schmalentine’s day, and a couple of you have since requested the recipe.
The bad news is, I decided to include a big hit of raw cacao in my newest batch to make it a rich, chocolatey affair. I’m sorry to do this to you; I understand that you may just be repulsed by such an idea…:)
Simple, pantry-friendly ingredients:
- 1/2 c raw almonds & pepitas, mixed together (can just use almonds if you prefer)
- 1 T raw honey
- pinch (~1/8th t) celtic sea salt
- 1/2 t cinnamon.
- 2 medium-sized frozen bananas
- 1 T raw cacao
- 1/2-1 t raw honey, to liking
Place the 1/2 cup of nuts into your food processor and pulverize for around one minute until relatively fine. Then add 1 tablespoon of raw honey, salt and cinnamon to mixture and process until combined. Spoon your base mixture into a small crock lined with baking paper (mine was about 20cm in length and 10cm in diameter) and press into sides to make the crust.
Then add frozen bananas (chopped into chunks) into your processing beast and whir until ice-cream-like. Add cacao, and honey if desired. Dollop into crust.
This would be extra saucy topped with fresh strawberries, but alas none were to be had.
I lined my crock with paper, but you could definitely forego it and just eat it as is with a spoon. In fact, please do that.
Freeze for around an hour, and you have yourself the makings of a good night 😉
You may or may not know that it’s also International Women’s Day today. In fact, it’s the 100th anniversary!
I am so incredibly thankful that I’ve grown up surrounded by strong, intelligent and inspiring women in a society in which gender discrimination is, for the most part, considered unacceptable. I have never been confronted with warped notions as to things I could or could not do as a female. I’ve been at liberty to express myself in whatever way I see fit, and enjoy the complete satisfaction of knowing my sex will never determine my destiny.
Historically women have not been so fortunate, and were forced to contend with damning scientific theories (ie. blood being diverted to the uterus for pregnancy thus lower brain capacity), marital domination, sexual atrocities (especially in times of war and unrest) and an array of painful and ridiculous fashion options (i’m thinking corsets, lead-based face powder and the modern stiletto!).
We live in fortunate times.
My mother is highly intelligent, vibrant and independent, raising the Bonne Santé gal solo – no mean feat.
Dad’s partner and my awesome step-mother, with a PhD in feminist theory, has informed my education more than any class or tut, expanding my vocabulary from the moment we met and supporting me through my awkward teenage years and beyond. Thanks to her, I am an unapologetic and empowered wo-man.
Needless to say, many amazing women exist in my life, and incidentally, the blog-world is FULL of them!
Which women have inspired you in your life? What do you like best about being a fierce and ferocious wo-man?!
March 6, 2011 § 10 Comments
Mooorrrrning has brroooooookkkeeennnnnnn!
I actually wrote this post about a week ago and it’s been sitting in my drafts giving me the stink eye ever since. It’s kinda tough because it involves some new dietary stuff, so roll with me here.
I’m going to be extremely self-indulgent today and write a post squarely centered on myself. Oy, the spotlight.
In doing so, I’m less concerned about satisfying my engorged ego than shelling out some real-life experience that could assist others on their own road to health.
Y’all know that my fetish for all things nerdy and nutritional manifests itself in the constant revision of my diet, exercise regieme and lifestyle – I’ve always appreciated that finding a true healthy balance involves a lot of trial, error and evolution. I want to discover a way of being that satisfies not only my ideological viewpoint, but also nourishes my physical and spiritual health.
Being a self-declared fence-sitter (or perhaps just painfully open minded) means that i’m always keen to see things from a different perspective and have never wanted to lock myself into a specific diet or become caught up in dogma.
Experimenting is how I plan to eventually gain enough wisdom and first-hand experience to advise people as a qualified Naturopath/holistic wellness…person (some letters after the name would be nice!) and I’m a firm believer in the fact that not every diet works for every body.
I’m beating around some dense thicket here but basically the gist is, I’m being open minded about my health and the advice as given to me by my naturopath and other people whom I respect. This currently involves a little shift in what i’ve been known to eat.
That, my friends, is an egg. It may the the first egg to grace the halls of Bonne Santé.
Because I am writing in crazy, staccato, illogical mode right now, I’ll break it down…
Main Point: In the spirit of experimentation, I want to see how adding a few foods I previously considered to be unnecessary/sub-optimal back into my diet makes me feel.
Please note: These eggs are from a local grower who has a small-scale hobby farm and lets his hens roam freely, eat natural food and lay eggs where they wish. The carton came with a little newsletter that is written monthly to update buyers on the farm, hen-related-happenings and even the health of specific named chickens! I am confident that no harm comes to these animals and they are being treated with love and respect. That being said, I still grapple with the overriding philosophical question as to whether we are ever entitled to ‘own’ and use for our benefit, another living creature. In this sense, I cannot defend the choice to consume eggs and must sit with my internal conflict. I also wish to point out that I am in no way intending to eat meat again – I understand it’s value in a lot of diets and as always, cast no judgement, but for me I feel better energetically without it. I cannot reconcile with eating dead animals and although some may feel that eating any animal product is to be complicit in their worldwide abuse, I’ve chosen to simply see how I go.
Why? : Ever since I did my raw experiment at the end of last year, I haven’t been feeling so great. Not that I attribute this to the diet in any way; merely to illustrate a time frame. Apart from being hard-pressed to shake a recurring throat infection, I also find myself snacking like a deranged beggar (esp. after dinner), irritable/moody/heinously wench-like and displaying some worrying patterns of un-healthy thinking about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods. Enjoying optimum health sometimes involves not thinking too hard about it, and I don’t want to become so rigid in my eating that it defeats the original purpose – to seize life by it’s man parts and enjoy the hell out of it.
I also want to eat mindfully (both in the not under/over eating sense, and ethically) and give my body what it truly needs so that I can squeeze the most out of every day. If this means incorporating some chicken menses a few times a week, then so be it.
UPDATE: One week later, and I’ve chowed through some happy hen-offerings and mulled things over. I appreciate that eggs are an amazing source of many essential vitamins and nutrients, not to mention a complete protein source and a convenient snack, however they’re still something I’m debating bringing back into my diet. They taste SO RICH to me now, and it’s not necessarily a flavour or sensation I crave. A big HMMMMMMMMMMM to the yolkers.
In other news, Notella has officially been usurped. Ousted. Replaced.
Meet my new lickable lover – honey roasted almond butter.
I made a variation on Ashley’s Maple Roasted Cinnamon Butter, and my life will never be the same.
Then I took it up a notch by investing in some blindingly white and criminally crusty jewish sourdough to act as a vehicle for this obscene specimen of butterisation.
I eat bread rarely, but when I do, it’s gonna be freshly-baked, doughy decadence.
MORE INFO ON ALMOND BUTTER TO COME!
Now, I leave you with some pictures from my weekend antics. Mardi Gras themes – parental supervision required.
Peace and man-thongs to you all! x
February 27, 2011 § 10 Comments
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.