Make Peace with Your Plate – Book Review

make-peace-with-your-plateReading is one of my favourite things to do. I usually have about three books on the go; one for business, one for health/spirit and one for fun. Then I have more books waiting for me when I’ve finished them. I also have an ever growing list of “must reads” to get through!! Who’s with me? Earlier this year I joined a Wellness Book Club where us book nerds share our thoughts and ideas about a particular book each month. One of the books we read was Make Peace with Your Plate by Jess Ainscough, and now I’m sharing my review with you.

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Australia’s very own Wellness Warrior has left a significant legacy. The passing of Jess Ainscough earlier this year was felt by the many lives she touched. The authenticity of her blog and her story as well as her message of wellness resonated with so many people who in turn felt a connection to her. I had followed her blog for a couple of years and credit her inspiring story, enthusiasm and dedication to health for sparking a transformation in my own life. I started 2015 with my ‘books to read this year’ list which included Make Peace with Your Plate – finally! Picking up this gem for the first time after her passing was both comforting and poignant.

Jess’ story is both heart-breaking and remarkable. At just 22 years old her life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with a rare type of incurable cancer and told that her only option to prolong her life was to amputate her arm. She was like any young woman; partying, living each day as it comes, surviving on junk food and battling body issues. Her shocking diagnosis was a life-changing catalyst for extreme change to her lifestyle, beginning with a three week stay at the Gerson clinic in Mexico. Two years of hourly fresh, organic veggie juices each day, a basic plant based diet and five coffee enemas a day followed.

She was absolutely, one-hundred percent committed to her health with the support of her parents, boyfriend and fur babies. An obsession to research everything about natural, alternative cancer therapies and treatments as well as how to bring her body to optimum health forms the basis for a lot of information in this book. She acknowledges that the information isn’t new, but rather something we have forgotten along the way and need to relearn.

What I absolutely love about Make Peace with Your Plate is that it is part reference book, part autobiography and part self-help book, all interwoven in an easy to read and light kind of way. She speaks about the chemicals in our foods, nutrition, whole-foods, a plant based diet and debunks some ‘truths’ about dietary claims. She shares some useful information on superfoods and how to use them as well as reading labels. Most useful is the ‘how’. You will find a lot of value in how to put all of this information into practice.

Going beyond the plate, Jess rightfully acknowledges that our wellbeing is based on more than what we put in our mouths. We must take a holistic approach. For me, having a regular meditation practice is important but something I never prioritise. Jess shares the details of her own practice and how to do it, this really helped me out with my routine. While reading this book I also got back into dry body brushing and felt amazing for it. I was also inspired to try oil pulling for the first time. All I can manage is 3 minutes. I’m not sure how someone with kids or a dog could possibly do this for 20 minutes in the morning. Another thing is the coffee enemas…..hmmm, still need to get my head around that one!

We can read a number of text books or spend an afternoon googling the theories and philosophy for health and wellness included in Make Peace with Your Plate. But what we would be missing out on is Jess’ incredibly inspiring story. How a young woman with a serious illness intuitively makes decisions for her own health, researches daily practices and nutritional information to allow her to thrive and manages to live a life full of gratitude and positivity. Her holistic approach to wellness and what that looks like in her daily life is what sets this book apart from the rest. Her authenticity, honesty and passion shines throughout this entire book, engaging the reader from start to finish.

A truly inspiring book that empowers us to live our healthiest lives.

Have you read Make Peace with Your Plate? I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you enjoyed this book review please let me know in the comments. If it’s something you’re interested in, I would really enjoy writing more reviews for you.xx

Chocolate Crackles

choc crackleToday I found myself without any chocolate in the house on World Chocolate Day!! Luckily I had the time to create a chocolatey, delicious and healthy treat with some ingredients in my cupboard. This is ideal for the 3pm sweet fix, for morning tea or as a snack. Perfect with a cup of tea.

You will need:
1/3 cup raw buckwheat
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup almonds chopped
1/3 cup pepitas
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup cacao nibs handful of dried fruit eg, goji berries, raspberries, cranberries
1 dessert spoon of cacao powder
1 dessert spoon of organic maple syrup (if you want more sweetness)
4 heaped dessert spoons of coconut oil

What to do:
1. Mix all dry ingredients together along with the maple syrup.
2. Melt the coconut oil then add it to the dry ingredients. Mix together.
3. Spoon mixture into cupcake paper cases or a silicon muffin tray.
4. Place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to set. Enjoy!choc crackle 2

This recipe can easily be made without the almonds for a nut free version. If you don’t have all of these ingredients, substitute and create your own version! The coconut oil is key in holding it all together. I’d love to hear what you put in your own chocolate crackle recipe, leave a comment below. I also think this treat is best enjoyed in winter as it would melt very quickly in summer.

Want to know more about how to integrate healthier habits and foods into your life? I am an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and can support you with tips and information to re-boot your health. Contact me here for your free Health Coaching session and go into the draw to win a beautiful self-care pack.

Turmeric Tonic for Winter Wellness

turmerictonic2If you’re after some preventative medicine and immunity support, you’ll be very interested in making this healthy tonic. I first made it around this time last year when I was feeling run down, like I was getting a cold and also had shoulder and neck pain. A huge believer in food as medicine, I had heard some amazing things about turmeric that I thought would give my body the support and healing it needed.

How did we get into the mindset that we need to visit the pharmacy when feeling less than 100%? I always turn to mother nature first.

Turmeric is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory, this is so important because most illness begins with inflammation. It is thought that India’s very low rate of Alzheimer’s disease is due to eating turmeric at almost every meal. Amazing stuff!

The properties of this incredible spice assists in keeping infection away, it is a flu fighter and also helps to repair skin. Plus it’s a natural painkiller, which is why I was drawn to use it to soothe my shoulder.

Research has shown that turmeric can be effective in lowering your risk of heart disease, improve brain function, treat symptoms of arthritis and benefits against depression. It can also prevent and possibly even treat cancer. Turmeric is THE spice you need to add to your diet for longevity and vitality. You can read more about the mind-blowing benefits here and here.

Have you used turmeric before? It is the spice that gives curries their yellow colour and looks very similar to ginger. When you buy fresh turmeric, you may not be able to distinguish it from ginger or you may notice that it has an orange or yellow shade.

A word of caution when making this tonic is not to wear white, be careful if you have white benches and try not to get too much on your hands and nails because it will stain. Fresh is best for this recipe.

How to make Turmeric Tonic (serves 4)

  1. In a saucepan add:turmeric tonic
  • 4cm stick of turmeric (or preferred amount) grated
  • 2cm chunk of ginger (or preferred amount) grated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 cups of water
  1. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring.
  2. Use a strainer when pouring into your cup.
  3. Add honey and milk if desired. Enjoy!

If you have leftovers I recommend straining the liquid into glass jars and storing in the fridge, so you can heat some up each day. This tonic is best enjoyed at the end of the day and will feel like a nice warm hug!

What are some other ways you like to use turmeric? I like to add it to scrambled eggs, stir fry’s, a turmeric and carrot soup and juices or smoothies. You can find the recipe for my Turmeric Cauli Rice here.

An interview with freeinthesea2014 on following your dreams, overcoming challenges and making a difference

isaWho has ever dreamed of selling up and travelling around the world? Quitting your job, buying a boat and setting sail? This is exactly what my courageous and adventurous friends, Isabel and Mick, did in December 2013. They sold most of their possessions, quit their jobs and left Australia to follow their dream of sailing to beautiful places, living a simple life and having an adventure. What’s even more inspiring is that they are also on a mission to raise awareness and educate communities about the effects of marine pollution. With their blog, freeinthesea2014, as well as through social media, I’m sure their message will be heard around the world.

We may not have the same dreams as Isabel and Mick, but I am sure that you will find their story of inspired action, passion and adapting to change motivational. Isabel is one of my closest and beautiful friends who truly shines from within and I am so excited to be featuring an interview with her. Oh how amazing technology is being able to interview someone moored off an island in the Caribbean!!

What has been the biggest challenge since making the decision to set sail?

My biggest challenges have been to find stability amongst constant change, living out of my comfort zone and facing fears. Although I used to sail as a child in little boats, I have had to overcome many fears since moving to our boat. I’m still very inexperienced so I’m scared of so many things like sailing at night, strong winds, big waves, pirates, and so much more. Moving from one place to another is exciting but it can be quite tiring too. You have to quickly learn how to adapt and how to find your centre inside of you and not depend on outside things for stability.

How did you overcome it?

Like with anything that scares us, the best way to overcome it is by doing it. I also believe in the power of positive thinking so I use affirmations to help me overcome my fears. If I see any negative thoughts coming to my mind, I quickly stop them by exchanging them with positive ones. As I mentioned before, being on the move, makes me a bit anxious at times, so I find that meditation helps a lot; just sitting quietly somewhere, closing my eyes and focusing in that place between my eyebrows or the centre of my heart, helps me calm my mind and brings me to feel peace again.

What has surprised you on your travels?

It has surprised me to see how badly managed rubbish is on most of the islands that we have visited around the Caribbean and in some places in South America like Ecuador; how littering is still a big problem and the lack of understanding on how big the problem of plastic pollution is and how it is affecting our oceans. In most of the islands, there are not well established waste management nor recycling centres, they don’t separate their rubbish and there is so much rubbish thrown to the streets and everywhere. This has been very sad to see, and has made me realize that there is a lot to be done.

You’re not just travelling for fun, you’re also spreading an important message about marine pollution. Why is this cause so important to you?

I’ve spent all my life around the ocean; I used to spend all my summers on the beach in Ecuador, first sailing then later on surfing. My parents taught mrubbishe to respect nature and I remember my dad always picking up rubbish from the beach, so I’ve copied his behaviour in some way. I’ve seen the amount of plastic that washes off on the beaches wherever we go. I have seen what it’s causing to the animals and I understand the negative impact that it’s causing to the environment and to us. I believe that this is a problem that can be solved by changing our habits and making smarter choices in the products we use every day. We are all connected. If the ocean is sick, we are sick and it’s up to us to make a difference. The ocean, nature, has given me so much in life. I cannot just sit and watch it being destroyed by our reckless behaviour, so that’s why I’m doing all I can to spread the message and at least make people think about the consequences of our actions.

Tell us about I.M. Recycled.

Before we moved onto our boat, we spent 8 months in Ecuador in 2014. Although I had been going back and visiting my family every year, I hadn’t spent that much time back since I left in 2005. The first few weeks when we arrived, we rented a little cabin on a beach called Ayampe. Here we were shocked by the amount of rubbish that was on the beach. We did a few beach clean ups but we knew that this was just a band aid solution to a much bigger problem.

With my background in education, I knew we needed to focus on spreading the word and telling others what was going on. So we started collecting plastic bottle caps and creating doormats with them. We contacted my old school and before leaving Ecuador we did a few talks about plastic pollution and showing the students what we were doing with the plastic we were finding on the beach. Everywhere we go, we continue to collect bottle caps and now we are not only making doormats but place mats and coasters for drinks. We try to contact local organizations in some of the places that we stay longer, work together with them and join in on beach clean ups.

This year, we’ll be arriving back in Ecuador around November and we’ll stay until the beginning of April. During this time, we are planning to launch an educational campaign about plastic pollution, visit more schools and organize bigger beach clean ups. We really believe that the main problem is lack of education and we would like to motivate people to change the situation by taking more action. I truly believe we can all make a difference.

im-recycled-6             doormat

How is your message received in the places you travel to?

What I’ve been trying to do is to contact people that are already doing things for the environment before I arrive in the new place. With social media this part is easy. It has giving me a chance to get to know people as passionate as me about the problem of plastic pollution and protecting our environment and sometimes we exchange ideas or we work together on beach clean ups. We have created a Facebook page for Ecuador called Mingas por el Mar EC where we share information about the problem and we look to make it easier for like-minded people to connect. I have seen great interest in the people in this country to be part of beach clean ups and to collaborate so it gives me hope that we can make it happen and that this project will be a successful one.

I’m sure it’s not all calm seas, tail winds, clear skies and sunshine. You and Mick spend a lot of time together in some challenging and stressful conditions. In what ways do you make a good team? How do you support each other?

headlessYes, life on a boat, it’s definitely not without challenges. It’s been quite a process and we have both learned a lot from each other. I think we have especially put in practice the saying, “Don’t take anything personally.” In stressful situations, where we are both tired and scared, we can easily lose our tempers, so the most important thing is to understand this, know it’s not personal and move on. We have definitely learned how to work as a team; we have come to understand our strengths and weaknesses. Mick can sometimes lose his patience so I think I calm him down and I can be a bit too relaxed at times so he gives me courage and motivation. We know when to give each other space, and when to lend each other a hand. I think it’s always important to communicate with each other and to be honest and also to always put yourself in the other person’s shoes, to try and understand why they’re acting in a certain way. We are good friends and that’s why we are a good team.

Tell us about the kind of healthy dishes you enjoy while sailing.

Our diets haven’t changed that much from when we lived back in Burleigh, although I’ve had to learn to adapt and accept what is on offer wherever we go. We grow our own alfalfa and bean sprouts on the boat so we always have fresh salads onboard. We have mainly a vegetarian diet so some of our specialties are curried vegetables, soups with lots of veggies and we love anything with lentils in it. We make sure to eat lots of fruits and seeds like chia; we also try to include quinoa in a lot of our dishes. We bake our own cakes and cookies on board and try to stay away from processed food. We have a pressure cooker on board so it’s really easy to cook grains. We do eat fish, whenever we are lucky to catch it.

Yoga has been an important part of your life for many years. What does your practice look like while travelling?

yogaAgain, it has been all about adaptability and making the most of what I have. It’s definitely more difficult to find the right place or conditions to practice. Sometimes I practice a bit of asanas on board, although it can be quite tricky, because our boat isn’t that big, and it can move a bit. My favourite place to practice is on deserted beaches with hard sand. We don’t find them that often, unfortunately.

I remember there was one week where every time I went to the beach to practice, something happened to prevent me from practicing or make the conditions harder. One morning it poured down rain, the next morning it was so windy that I was getting sand all over my face and then finally I found a beautiful deserted beach with the right conditions to practice and all of a sudden there was a kayaking tour arriving and parking their kayaks right next to me, so I had to practice with a crowd.

I have learned to adapt and do what I can every day. Some days, I just sit for a few minutes in my cabin and meditate, or do some pranayamas. Other times when we are sailing and I’m completely alone, I start chanting or repeating mantras. I don’t get to join yoga classes that often, so when I do, I really enjoy them and appreciate being guided by a teacher. I see an opportunity to practice yoga as an everyday thing: Yoga for me, it’s how we approach life, how we react in every situation, how we treat each other. That way, I’m practicing 24 hours a day, 7 days of the week.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow their passion and make their dreams come true?

Just do it. Follow your heart, trust in what makes you feel happy and do it. Life is too short to waste it on things that aren’t important. I truly believe that if you can imagine it, you can make it happen. We create the world we live in, so start thinking positive thoughts, create a wish board, give it your 100%, work hard and you’ll make it happen.

Quote to live by:

“Be the change you want to see in the world”. Gandhi

I read this quote many years ago and I try to live my life following it. I think it’s always easier to judge a situation outside of us than to look into ourselves and see what is really happening. This quote reminds me that everything starts with me. If I’m not happy, if I’m feeling unfulfilled I know that I’m the only person that can change that situation. My happiness doesn’t depend on anyone or anything. I decide to be happy and I work on anything I need to change in my life to make it happen. I’ve always felt this strong need of doing things to help others. Sometimes this can be overwhelming and disheartening when you see the big picture so I remember this quote and I focus on myself. I can be the best version of myself. It would be really hard to stop the war in the world but at least I can be peaceful with everyone that I come into contact with and that’s my way of creating change. I may not be able to pick up all the rubbish that is in the ocean but I can look at how much rubbish I’m producing and pick up what I can, that way I know I’m making a small difference with what I can do.

You certainly are making a difference Isabel! Thank you.xx

ondular

My wish is for you, the reader, to take these wise words, lessons, the positive outlook on life and overcoming challenges with you. What have you learned from Isabel’s journey that you can relate to your own life? How can you make a difference in your world? Please leave a comment below.

Make sure you head on over to freeinthesea2014 now to read up on their latest travels and support their meaningful cause.

*All images freeinthesea2014

Coconut & Sweet Potato Brownies by Elsa’s Wholesome Life

cacao-sweet-potato-brownieRecently I happily stumbled across Elsa’s vibrant Instagram page @elsas_wholesomelife full of goodness and foodie inspiration. Her blog Elsa’s Wholesome Life is just as colourful with many plant based and healthy recipes. I am very excited to be featuring her as a guest on the blog this week and sharing her delicious Coconut and Sweet Potato Brownie recipe.

Elsa is a student dietician living and studying on the sunny Gold Coast, sharing her love for whole, raw and plant based foods. Currently in her third year of her bachelor degree, soon she will be an accredited practising dietician, educating and helping people prevent and treat disease through their diet.

One of her favourite quotes is Let food be thy medicine – Hippocrates. One of my favourites too!

Now here’s her delicious recipe!

 Coconut & Sweet Potato Brownies

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free, No Additives, Organic, Superfood’s, and Plant Based.

Now at first it may seem like a crazy ridiculous idea to throw veggies in a dessert. But I assure once you try, you will be all for the ol’ unsuspecting vegetable… sweet taties!

These brownies are baked crunchy on the top and gooey on the inside, just like a good brownie should be. Naturally sweetened, so it won’t make your blood sugar soar.

So what’s exciting about this is not only will you be getting a serve of veggies but also sweet potatoes are extremely high in Beta-Carotene, meaning lots of Vitamin A. They also contain oodles of Vitamin C, a superfood for your skin! Yay.

So it wouldn’t be a brownie without the hero superfood cacao. Packed with antioxidants, magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, and B vitamins, just to name a few. Basically just ALOT of goodness. Yet it’s chocolate right!?

Who thought something so incredibly tasty could also be soo good for you. Genius!!

Alright so how do we do this?

Here’s what you will need: 

2 large organic sweet potatoes
4-5 heaped tbsp raw cacao powder
10-14 organic medjool dates (depends how sweet you would like it)
1/2 c organic coconut flour
1/4 c desiccated organic coconut
1/4 c organic almond meal
3 tbsp melted organic cold pressed coconut oil
sweet-potatoespinch of sea salt
1 tsp maca powder (optional)

For decorating:

1-2 tsp raw cacao powder
1-2 tbsp cacao nibs

To serve:

pack of strawberries
cacao sauce (extra, not pictured)

For sauce:

equal portions of cacao, coconut oil, and natural sweetener

Construction instructions: 

Firstly.. I recommend putting on some clothes that you don’t mind getting a lil grubby!

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan forced) my ovens super old so I had it set to about 200.
  2. Steam the sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped) until super soft (fork falls through them)

note: steaming is better than boiling, keeps more of the nutrients alive!

  1. Blend in a processor the cooked sweet potatoes and dates until creamy and smooth. Taste and add more dates if you would like it sweeter.
  2. Add the cacao, salt, flour, almond meal, coconut, and maca to a big bowl, stir to combine.
  3. Scoop the potato mixture into the bowl with the other ingredients and combine with a big spoon, or your hands.. they are the best tool in the kitchen after all. If you like, add extra cacao to taste. Stir in the melted coconut oil well.
  4. Line a baking tin with baking paper, I used a square tin.
  5. Scoop mixture (my mixture was way too thick to pour) into the tray and press flat and firm.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes or until your fork comes out clean. My ovens’ super slow so it ended up being in there for more like 40 minutes. Plus I like the top to be nice and crunchy!
  7. Set aside to cool, then remove from tin, slice up, sift the cacao powder over the top, sprinkle some nibs, and serve with sliced strawberries and some cacao sauce if you like it yummy and gooey (optional, which you make by melting coconut oil over a stove with cacao and your choice of sweetener)

I also highly recommend serving it warm, you can store in a container and refrigerate it for up to a week, then microwave (or heat in the oven) your serve, and serve with the berries and sauce. Waaayy better when its gooey and warm with your hot tea 🙂 

brownie-1

Make sure you tag @elsas_wholesomelife on instagram if you recreate this recipe. Check out her blog here for her full post including more mouth watering pics and delicious healthy recipes!

What is a Health Coach?

What is a Health Coach_

Health Coaching is a relatively new thing in Australia. I must admit that two years ago, I had no idea that Health Coaches even existed! Now that I am a Health Coach I thought I’d shed some light on what I do and don’t do.

First and foremost, I aim to empower people to live their own version of a happy and healthy life. I do this by truly listening to them about their concerns, goals and dreams. We discuss solutions to issues or problems and through this, the client often comes up with their own plan of action.

Health Coaches largely work with people who are generally healthy but may have mild health concerns such as headaches, sugar cravings and fatigue. We discuss ways to ‘crowd out’ caffeine, sugar and junk food as well as anything else that the client may need support with. For example, choosing the best gluten free or dairy free alternatives.

Clients experience great success in achieving their goals when they are able to come to their own conclusions about their health. For example, someone who has sugar cravings may never have thought about what triggers this. We encourage clients to listen to their body and ask meaningful questions to facilitate an understanding of the particular unhealthy habits that they want to overcome.

Of course, health isn’t just about what we eat. Often what we eat is secondary to everything else going on in our lives. Health Coaches take a holistic approach to health and wellness. We encourage clients to move their bodies and find an activity or exercise that they enjoy as well as explore what makes them happy.

Other areas to explore and discuss for your overall health and wellness include career, relationships, education, home environment, self-esteem, creativity, spirituality and stress-management. Your Health Coach is there for you to provide support with what you need to improve your health and wellbeing.

Can you think of a time in your life when you have had someone’s unbiased and undivided attention? When you have had someone truly listen to you and cheer you on? When you have had someone hold you accountable to your word so that you achieve your goals? This is the major role of a Health Coach.

It is not the role of a Health Coach to diagnose, prescribe treatments or cure illness. We cannot give medical advice or tailor meal plans or recommend medications. We are not doctors, Nutritionists or Dieticians. Clients would find great benefit in working with a Health Coach alongside these professionals. We can assist people in how to action recommendations from their health professional in a way that fits in to their lifestyle.

You will find that there are Health Coaches out there who specialise in different areas. This may be because they have overcome or experienced a particular situation or health concern or they may have a background that complements Health Coaching. What is important is that you are able to find someone you are comfortable with and relaxed talking to. Only you know what is best for you.

If you are ready to make some long lasting and positive changes to your health and wellness, you can find out more about my Health Coaching Program here or contact me for your free consultation here. The right time to start is always now!

Maybe you are interested in becoming a Health Coach too? I’d be happy to answer your questions. You can contact me here.

Shine Bright!x

10 Reasons to Visit a Farmer’s Market!

vegIt started out as a “date” with my husband on a Sunday morning. We saw a sign advertising the local Farmer’s Market and decided to check it out. There was live music and delicious food stalls, plus they sold the newspaper. So we would sit on the grass in the shade or sun, depending on the season, soak up the sounds and catch up on the news while enjoying a gozleme and a coffee. Afterwards we’d shop for our fruit and vegetables for the week. A very happy and relaxing Sunday morning!

Around the same time I saw the films Forks Over Knives, Foodmatters and Food Inc. Eating local and understanding where our food comes from and how it is grown really mattered to me. I also started Meat Free Monday in my household so including more plant based foods in our diet was also really important. So much so, that our Farmer’s Market visit became our weekly shop. Sometimes we would just be in and out in 15 minutes buying what we needed. The value for money really surprised us. We were coming home with bags of fresh produce and we hadn’t spent much at all. In fact, many prices at the markets were much cheaper than the supermarket.

Not only were we getting more value for our money but we were also getting better quality. These locally grown fruits and vegetables tasted amazing! I have had fruit and vegetables from a supermarket in the last year and I can honestly say that there is a huge difference in the taste. After buying directly from a farmer, I now know how fresh fruits and vegetables should taste. I encourage you to test it out for yourself.

Here are some reasons why you should visit a Farmer’s Market this weekend:

  1. Everything tastes better because it is fresh
  2. More nutritious as it’s sold right after it’s picked
  3. Support local farming families
  4. Eating in season and fresh, ripe foods increases the foods’ vitality
  5. Less packaging
  6. It’s cheaper to buy organic and spray free produce from the local farmer
  7. Promotes energy conservation due to reduction in transport
  8. Supports the environment and wildlife, farmers have respect for their land
  9. Builds community as you get to know the farmer and the story behind what you eat
  10. It’s fun! Farmer’s Markets are fun for everyone!

Now, five years later, things have changed; the Farmer’s Market is no longer a “date”. My donkey (husband!) only accompanies me occasionally, so now I happily visit the markets on my own or with my mum and carry my own bags!!

I have found an amazing local farmer who delivers fresh, spray free, organic produce to my door. But I do visit the markets for particular fruit and veggie items as well as organic meat, kombucha, eggs and fresh bread.

Where do you buy your fruit and veg? Are you a regular at the Farmer’s Market? Please leave a comment below with your favourite one and why.

I offer Farmer’s Market tours as well as Supermarket and Health Food Store tours in my Health Coaching Program, you can find out more here.

Have you signed up to my newsletter? Receive your free healthy snack resource and fortnightly health and wellness inspiration here.

Are you fat-phobic?

Sunflower-oil-free-license-CC0I’m talking about food here. If so, you’re not alone. The majority of us have been raised on the message that fat is bad. There is a prevalence of low-fat versions of all foods, particularly dairy.  The margarine vs butter debate has been argued for decades, each time adding more confusion.  We have our tea or coffee with low-fat or ‘skinny’ milk. We believe that low-fat yogurt is the best option. We choose meat that has little or no fat in it. We’re told that eating fat will make us fat or lead to heart disease or worse. We check food packets for information about the fat content. We feel guilty eating fat. Have you ever considered where these messages about fat originated and how much is true? Are we benefitting from this message and our feelings towards fat? If not, who is?

Recently, I have been thinking about these questions. I’m a huge believer in just eating real food. Food in its most natural form, just what our grandparents and great grandparents ate. There are so many ways of eating these days that value this. Our ancestors ate fat in its most natural form, think lard, butter, olive oil, whole milk, animal fat etc. However, it is only in recent times that obesity and the interest in dieting have become significant. If you’ve seen That Sugar Film, you would understand that it’s sugar, not fat, that will add centimetres to your waistline. So do we need to re-think our idea of fat? Can fat actually improve our health? Let’s start with the basics:

  1. All fats are not equal. There is good and bad.
  2. Nutrient rich traditional fats can nourish your body. They allow our cells to work properly and strengthen the immune system. Saturated fats are necessary for our lungs, kidney function and hormone production. It also helps to aid our digestion. Read more about the benefits here and here.
  3. Trans fats are the worst fats. Think polyunsaturated and hydrogenated vegetable oils and fried foods. These increase the likelihood of disease. Find out more here.

I know this is just scratching the surface of a huge topic which I will keep exploring. I hope it has sparked some of your own questions. It’s time to change our relationship with fat. We need to get to know fat a little better. You never know, fat could become your body’s best friend!

How do you feel about fat? Please leave a comment below.

Want help learning how to choose and use nutritious fats and other good-for-you foods? Curious about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about!

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8 Reasons Why You Need This Meal in Your Life!

photo (29)I’m not exaggerating here! This little meal is amazing for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack. I first saw this idea on the Foodmatters website and it has been a part of my life ever since! Now, I’m a huge fan of Japanese food, I lived there for just over a year, so before I even made it I knew I’d love it. There just isn’t enough seaweed wrapped meals in Australia and this spin on sushi is amazing. Here are eight reasons why you need to try the Omelette Nori Roll this week:

  1. Super easy. I made this in less than 10 minutes. Whisk 2 or 3 eggs, mix with shallots, photo (28)mushrooms and any greens you like plus some turmeric. Cook as an omelette on the frying pan. Place your sheet of dried seaweed (nori) on the plate, top with the cooked omelette, kim chi or sauerkraut, greens, avocado or anything else you like. Roll up and enjoy.
  1. Seaweed has amazing health benefits. Seaweed is an ancient superfood, rich in minerals such as iodine, magnesium, calcium, iron, vitamins C and A, protein and the list goes on. Natural iodine is vital for aiding and maintaining healthy thyroid function, this gland controls two fertility hormones, as well as functions such as weight management, how we use energy and how we sleep. Other benefits of eating seaweed include improved memory and immunity, clear skin, healthy hair and lower blood pressure. Buy some nori on your next visit to the supermarket!
  2. Eggs are good for you! There has been so much contradicting information over the years, debating whether eggs are good or bad for you. My belief is that we should be eating real food and eggs fall under this category. Dr Nat Kringoudis rates eggs as the number one fertility food, a complete meal with the perfect package of protein and good quality fats. The most important thing about eggs is where they come from. Always, always buy pastured eggs from a local farmer or if this isn’t available to you, buy free range and preferably organic.
  3. Good for your gut! By now you have probably heard about how important gut health is. With 85% of our immune system located in our gut wall, looking after our gut health should be a number one priority. Greens, fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kim chi, as well as avocado are some of the foods in this meal that promote a healthy gut.photo (30)
  4. It’s delicious! Can there be a better reason? Food is meant to be enjoyed!
  5. It’s so versatile! Just add whatever you like to your omelette and the filling. There are no rules. Experiment! Find a combination of fillings that you like.
  6. You can eat it on the go. Eating mindfully is incredibly important and something I will write about another day. But unfortunately there are times when we just have so much going on and we spend our days racing around. Yes, eat this on the go, but do chew your food and enjoy the taste!
  7. The perfect ‘I don’t feel like cooking’ or ‘We’ve got no food in the house’ meal. As long as you have nori, eggs and some veggies or greens in the house, you’ve got yourself a healthy meal. No need to head to the drive thru!

I would love for you to share your favourite Omelette Nori Roll fillings, make sure you leave a comment below.

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Ten Tips to Help Create Balance in Your Life by Rachel Stokes

Whether you have children or not, balance is a word that comes up a lot. We’ve all been there; a huge week of work or study, social occasions, relationships to maintain, a house to keep clean, mouths to feed, pets to walk, many things to be done. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness and feel frazzled. I’ve been there, I’m sure I’m not alone.

I came across this blog post at just the right time. It was exactly the words I needed to read to get me through a huge week. This topic is close to my heart and I just had to share it with you!

Rachel StokesRachel Stokes is incredibly passionate about health and wellbeing, particularly preventative health care. Her beautiful blog and Facebook page provides invaluable knowledge about the nutrients our bodies need for vitality. Nutrition is only one aspect of health.  Wellness requires balance in the areas of relationships, career, physical activity, spirituality and having clarity around your life’s purpose.

As a busy, working and studying mother with four children (four!!), I couldn’t think of a better person to help us all out with the pursuit of balance. If anyone can provide insight, valuable practices and simple strategies for us all to create more balance in our lives it is definitely Rachel.

Ten Tips to Help Create Balance in Your Life

Balance-10-self-care-tips-for-the-blog-300x240Juggling a family, career and a social life is a balancing act. There is nothing I love more than being a mum. I also love having a rewarding career and having a social life. However, life can be challenging, it is easy to stop taking care of yourself. You have other people you are responsible for and there are always demands for our attention. In order to be the best mum, friend and wife you can be you have to be healthy, happy, well rested and in balance. I know this is so much easier said than done. I am not here to preach. For years my life had no balance. It took more than a slap in the face with a cold fish to snap me out of it too. That’s a story for another day.  Here are 10 self -care tips you can implement straight away:

  1. Take one day at a time. I read a Buddha saying just today that said: “Do not dwell in the past. Do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
  2. Spend time with your family and friends. For me this means scheduling activities so that I can maintain healthy relationships. My husband and I have just started scheduling fortnightly date nights. We are literally passing ships and needed to do something to bring the relationship back into balance. We could probably upgrade it to weekly. Fortnightly is a start. I schedule to catch up with my friends regularly, sometimes it is to go for a coffee, other times it’s a swim or a walk or a family BBQ. Consider other areas of your life that you may want to commit some time to. For example, spiritual growth, personal growth, career development and plan them into your weekly schedule.
  3. Increase the amount of fruit and vegetables in your diet and eat healthy foods. I know this sounds ridiculously simple but it’s also ridiculously easy to eat bad foods. They just seem so convenient. You will function better if you eliminate highly processed foods and refined sugars out of your diet. Foods have an amazing ability to support digestion, heal the gut, strengthen immunity, fight infection, reduce inflammation, enhance mood, boost IQ, build muscle and much more. There are a gazillion resources on eating well. Don’t get too overwhelmed with it all. Keep it simple: Increase fresh foods and drink more water to crowd out the junk.
  4. Hire a health or life coach for additional support or find a friend to be your accountability partner. Discuss your goals, your dreams, the vision you have for your future. Let the coach help you to break it down into achievable and doable chunks.
  5. Take breaks. Take short breaks, long breaks, weekend breaks. You must take time to renew and rejuvenate. Today I felt like I was getting nowhere, I was so frustrated with myself. I work mostly from home so I took 5 minutes to go outside feed the chickens and have a jump on the trampoline. The short break allowed me to refocus and start again. When I worked at the hospital, instead of having breaks in the lunch room I would take a stroll outside or sit and have lunch outside in the fresh air.
  6. Breathe frequently. Dr Andrew Weil has a great breathing exercise he calls the 4-7-8 breath. You can do anywhere anytime. Learn how to do it here. Dr Weil recommends practicing twice a day. It’s a tool you will have in your back pocket so to speak. Use it to help you fall asleep, overcome food cravings or whenever you are aware of tension building. I was attending one of Dr Weil’s lectures and he stopped right in the middle of class and taught us this.  At first I thought it was so weird but now I love this technique and use it daily.
  7. Move your body. Exercise energises your body and clears your mind. If you’re not fit, start with a ten minute gentle walk and increase it by two minutes each day. Within twenty days you will be walking half an hour a day.
  8. Don’t compare yourself to others. Full stop.
  9. Spend time with supportive people.
  10. Keep a gratitude journal. Being thankful helps us to focus on what we have rather than what we don’t have. Every time you have a positive thought it literally changes your brain and the hormones that are released in your body. Dr Caroline Leaf is an expert on how thoughts affect our emotions and our bodies and teaches how to break the cycle of toxic thinking. As you think, your thoughts are activated, which in turn activates your attitude. Your attitude is all of your thoughts put together and reflects your state of mind. This attitude is reflected in the chemical secretions that are released. Positive thoughts and gratitude cause the secretion of the correct amounts of chemicals and negative attitudes distort the chemical secretions. This distortion of chemicals, over time, can result in ill health. Gratitude and thankfulness lay the foundation for health and peace. Start by writing down just one thing a day that you are thankful for and each day add to your list. Also start to pay attention to where your mind goes most of the time. Each time your mind strays toward a negative thought replace it with a positive thought. When you practice gratitude your world begins to look brighter.

Visit Rachel Stokes Nutrition and Wellness for more inspiration for balanced living and make sure you check out her delicious recipes!

Which of these tips will you try this week? Which one interests you the most? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.