Relaxation 101.

April 26, 2011 § 10 Comments

It’s a rare moment when, in the midst of a day filled with such ordinary events as watching the sun rise, bike riding and time spent with family, you stop and realise, it’s a day to remember. It’s not often we preempt nostalgia, actively participating in the memory as it unfolds, but today is going straight to the bank.

We started early at 5am to attend the dawn ANZAC service. I am hardly patriotic and gung-ho wartime rhetoric makes me cringe, but the fact remains, hundreds of thousands of young people of countless nationalities have lost their lives in tragic, barbaric, and senseless conflict, a fact that is certainly worth remembering.

As the sun started to rise, it was a wee bit magical.

Walking back from the park, I got a bit snap-happy. Bear with the whimsical sky/tree shots.

Autumnal magic.

Top way to start the day!

Then we embarked on a cycling jaunt that may or may not have had a particular destination in mind…

Little Creatures brewery!

I don’t even drink beer, but this boutique aussie brewery is way too cool to pass up.

The whole trip from home to Fremantle and back is around 50kms! BAM. So proud of my pedal-pushin’ little thighs right now.

I’d love to say I rode side-saddle, gracefully gliding along on my vintage bicycle with poise and charm, like so:

The reality is a bit more grim.

Rocking the peace symbol, trying not to stack it.

CHEESE!! Audrey would be horrified.

The class doesn’t stop there. My riding ensemble featured a borrowed pair of cycling pants, complete with ultra butt-cushioning that made me feel like I was waddling around in an oversized adult nappy. My crotch was grateful 50kms later.

Mum and I sported Vibrams, of course. The five-fingered love of my life.

We stopped for some mid-morning refreshments and got up close and personal with a very inquisitive black swan.

You say cute, I say…

…KEEP AWAY FROM MY APPLE, BITCH!

This concludes todays presentation; have to start preparing for Ma’s birthday party which is TODAY! Happy Birthday to the raddest mother in the world ❤

Have you had unexpectedly awesome, memorable days recently? Do share!

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A foodie fiesta.

March 15, 2011 § 9 Comments

Greetings!

Hope you’re all kicking it health-warrior style.

I’ve been feeling quite deflated, listless and sad to my soul as the horrific events in Japan continue to unfold.

As President Obama put it in a recent address, it is utterly heartbreaking to contemplate the scale of destruction and loss of life (both human, and critter) that has resulted from yet another natural disaster. I feel sick. Unsettled. What happens to them happens to all of us, because despite those imaginary borders we create with language (country, nation, race) we are ultimately one. Made of the same stuff, tied to the same earth.

I cannot fathom how people cope with such events, but I send my thoughts anyway.

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Over the weekend my friends from college and I got together to revel in our mutual lust for tasty food and culinary experimentation. I thought I’d share some pictures with you, and encourage you all to consider having your closest buddies around to bond over dinner; there is something special about dinner parties that cannot be recreated at a restaurant or club. And you might just snag an awesome recipe or two to add your repertoire!

We congregated at the completely charming abode of Jack, then enigmatic face behind The Batchelor Blog and proceeded to stuff ourselves silly.

I was a little late to the party, and was presented with this plate full of love on arrival. Pre-plated entrée? I can deal.

There are a number of different cultural influences in our class and so the three course meal contained a medley of mouth-blowing flavours and textures. Two Japanese girls made the most amazing sticky rice and seaweed condiments I have ever tasted, and there were homemade dips, german crackers, greek lentils and italian goodies galore!

Jack made an amazing ginger ale by reducing some fresh ginger and honey in a pot, adding some fizz and fresh mint for good measure! Zzzzzzzing!

Kitchen full of wannabe chefs.

Goofing around on the dimly-lit stairs.

My contribution: raw zucchini & carrot noodles with a delicious asian dressing from Gina at Choosing Raw.

Also, raw banana pie for dessert!

I layered some delectable honey-roasted almond butter on the bottom of the crock and then used some banana soft-serve as the filling.

Process 2-3 frozen bananas until creamy, and add in some extra nut butter, cinnamon and honey if your sweet tooth desires. Freeze. Get your saliva on.

This house is FILLED with character.

Posting your laundry on the interwebs, soz Jack.

Our Italian connection Alessandra, made this insanely fresh and flavourful pasta dish with broccoli, garlic and chili that is not done justice by the crummy photo.

And the grand finale! Flourless orange and almond cake. Holy Bethlehem, this was incredible.


Such a tasty evening. Thankyou, friends!

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 🙂

Detoxing in the New Year: Part 1

February 10, 2011 § 2 Comments

It’s that time of year again when people go cuckoo for week-long syrup fasts, fat-igniting magic pills and foul-tasting meal replacements that all serve primarily to reinforce the distinction between happiness and health.

Happiness is where they’ve been; partying, indulging, living. Health is that odious, obligatory task of taking out the trash.

People of all ages and genders have been wandering into my work wearing expressions that immediately betray their grim purpose; ‘Fix me with your herbal hocus-pocus!’

I begin to explain that a gentle cleanse does not have to equate to suffering and sacrifice…

…but they are already plucking the ready-made detox kit from the shelf, cringing as they turn over the neatly packaged box of potions that will ‘melt fat from their frame’ before you can say gimmick.

To them this temporary plan, albeit painful, is the only way they can truly repent for the sins of the festive season. Unfortunately, it is an established misconception that holding your nose in the name of health is a necessary evil, and however loudly I may protest, many people refuse to believe that good health and good fun can ever be reconciled.

Say no to Lemon Detox!

This worrying trend that I’ve observed in store is far from being an isolated phenomenon. It saddens me to think that this is the way many people visualise health, and as a result, they are missing out on the truly wonderful, miraculous and delicious truth. To perform a detox and attain permanent & lasting health, YOU DON’T NEED TO PULL THAT FACE!  It’s not so bad my tortured friends!

I’ve decided to write a series of articles that provide you with various options for detoxing and losing weight in a manner that is taste-bud friendly, and free from rigid rules and yawn-fest calorie-crunching.

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PART ONE: The Emotional Detox

Correct. This particular approach targets the noggin’; the control centre of our being that deserves a lot more love, and acts as the foundation for our continued efforts at attaining better health.

Like emptying your handbag of months of compounded crap, cleaning out your mental space can help you locate that inspiration you misplaced, the missing keys to your happiness, and the motivation that was rotting right at the very bottom, in a forgotten Tupperware container (don’t pretend you haven’t found decomposing matter in a hidden corner of your purse!).

Not only can taking the time to re-focus and re-group support a greater level of organisation, but having a healthy mental state also prevents the physical effects of stress from impacting negatively on your body.

Did you know that highly stressed individuals have permanently elevated levels of cortisol? This is a hormone secreted in the event of a fight-or-flight-type situation and would be useful if you were legging it away from a bear or a yeti. Being continuously depressed, anxious or strung-out however means your body produces cortisol consistently, in turn increasing your insulin levels and appetite, and hence stubborn belly fat is born.

Many natural health gurus also believe that holding on to negative emotions and failing to address underlying issues can be reflected in the physical – i.e. being ‘chubby’ because it serves an emotional purpose. Are you hiding behind your weight? Could it be that you are deeply afraid of the consequences of actually attaining your goals and having to live with the attention you might receive being thin? Sounds far-fetched, but the power of your mind and your prevailing beliefs is such that thoughts can and do manifest in the physical. Think about it, yo.

My suggestions for becoming a happier, more mentally mellow dude (in the gender non-specific sense) are as follows:

•  Ask big-picture questions. Go on, I dare you. One night I actually took the time to ask myself how I was doin’ and if I was happy with my studies/life/future plans. How shocked was I when the answer I came out with was a resounding, NO. If you find that you also aren’t jiving with your current job, living arrangement or overarching direction, why not hypothesise as to your alternative options? It’s your life; please build, tweak and sculpt it to your liking! Go forth and write, research, plan, enquire, chant and astrally project until you have a solution.

•  Take the time to offload all those pesky logistics/budget concerns and grocery lists onto paper. Ok, so needing to write a shopping list has never impacted negatively on my happiness, but I’ve certainly felt overwhelmed with thoughts about money and other tedious aspects of capitalist living that, once laid out on paper, did not seem so horrid. Be brave, allocate funds in order of priority (tip: SPLURGE ON CONSUMABLES!) and take the time to make a detailed to-do list that you can cathartically tick off with vigour! CONFESSION: Sometimes I include a bunch of things that I’ve already achieved, like ‘wake up’, ‘shower’ and ‘breathe’ to make me feel super productive 😛

•  Address interpersonal tensions. If there’s someone you’ve been avoiding or a friend you have unresolved issues with, make a concerted effort to heal that wound. Whether it means acknowledging that they are gone from your life, or trying make amends, decide on your preferred outcome and take warrior action (yes, you can be a friendship warrior as well as a Vibram warrior!).

•  Do the hard stuff. There are always things on my list that inspire a certain fear and weakness in the spongy parts of my spine (emailing someone with bad news, asking for a favour, paying a ridiculous, outrageous, outlandishly expensive parking fine…). When you want to put it off, you have to flex your confidence muscle and just it do (yoda, for nike). You’ll feel an empowered sense of accomplishment once you’ve volleyed all life’s tennis balls back into the opposite court (sometimes my analogies aren’t so catchy– let’s roll with it).

•  Clean up your shit. I’m not saying you live amid filth and squalor but if you did, hypothetically speaking, it would be wise to shovel out the poo. For everyone else, organising and cleaning out your room, house and car can have a profoundly cleansing effect on the mind. Feng shooooeeeey is not without it’s merits.

•  If all else fails, jump into the ocean. Or at least touch it with your toe. Or go somewhere in nature that you’ve never been before; a place that restores calm to your muddled interior would be ideal. Take the time to do some whimsical, meditative frolicking (of which you know I’m a fan) – any time spent tuning your nature chord is time well spent.

What are your tricks for cleaning out your emotional inbox?

About to drop.

February 6, 2011 § 8 Comments

I’m bribing you with photos yet again to make sure you hang in there until next week when Bonne Santé gets a long-overdue dose of TLS (tender love & SPINACH!).

I’ve been hiding behind a paper bag waiting to unleash the new Bonne look…

Must invest in larger lunch bag to fit enormous head.

There’ll be veggie warrior mayhem…

… and more delicious eats.

(The bags are catching on).

You’re all invited for tea…

…with optional spillage.

See you soon mes amis!

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