BOOK NOW
BOOK NOW

Why I skip/skimp on Oil + 7 simple Salad Dressings

The biggest misconception about salads is that they are always, always healthy. Well, this isn’t always the case. They are certainly a step in the right direction, if they actually include greens in them – I have seen white pasta/cous-cous/rice lathered in dairy with a few minuscule herbs or potatoes thrown in, being dubbed a salad. Not exactly!

An area so many of us get lost in is salad dressings. Firstly, because the store-bought or cafe-ordered ones are usually overrun by oils of varying quality, excessive sugar, preservatives, artificial ingredients etc. which can turn your otherwise healthy meal on its head. And secondly, I believe, we are all looking to oil as they key ingredient.

So, why am I not such a big fan of oil? Yes, even the extra-virgin, organic, cold-pressed type…

Well put simply, oil is not a whole-food. It is the fatty part, extracted from what was once a whole food – the olive, the macadamia nut, the coconut etc. Thus, it is processed. It is also extremely energy dense. All the other nutrients from the plant have been thrown away – protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fibre, and water – leaving nothing but energy-dense, fat. Wholefoods are usually buffered by fibre and water, to naturally portion control for us, but extracted foods like oil, are not. And with all that density, there really is little nutrition – as mentioned, a lot of it is discarded, and what remains is omega-3 fatty acids, valuable, but not necessary if you consume a healthy, wholefood diet which naturally contains it anyway. So whilst I believe in consuming healthy fats for our cardiovascular health, brain, skin, mood, immune system etc. I just see oil as excessive and unnecessary, and often the missing piece to the puzzle when someone is struggling to loose weight but is following an otherwise healthy, wholefood diet.

As Dr McDougall describes:

“…there are adverse effects from consuming free oils, when added from a bottle to meals or taken as pills.  The most obvious adverse effect is people gain weight when they eat even so-called “healthy oils,” like olive oil. When 54 obese women in a Mediterranean country were studied, these women were found to be following a diet low in carbohydrates (35% of the calories) and high in fats (43% of the calories).  Of the total calories from fat, 55% came from olive oil.   My point: a Mediterranean diet which is loaded with olive oil, rather than fruits and vegetables, will make you fat… the heart benefits of a Mediterranean diet are due to it being a nearly vegetarian diet… Avoiding free vegetable oils is the last important hurdle for people seeking better health…

As such, I much prefer perfectly packaged, wholefood healthy fat options like nuts, seeds and avocados. They are far tastier too! When it comes to cooking, I use a light spray, 1/4 tsp, or simply a splash of water or tamari.

So, when making salad dressings, I prefer to skip or skimp on the oil, and favour delicious, wholefood ingredients. Here are some easy concoctions you can shake together in a jar, no fancy equipment required. Plain and simple, but tasty as ever!

Miso Tamari: 1/2 lemon or lime (juiced), 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 tbsp tamari, 1 tsp unpasturised miso paste, 1 tsp sesame oil (optional), pinch of chili flakes (optional);

Lemon Dijon: 1 lemon (juiced), 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil or maple syrup (optional), cracked black pepper;

Lemon Tahini: 1 lemon (juiced), 1 tbsp tahini, 1 tbsp ACV, splash or two of filtered water, ground pepper, 1/2 tsp cumin or turmeric (optional);

Nutritious Creamy Citrus: 1 lemon (juiced), 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp ACV, 1 tsp dulse, a pinch of chili or cayenne (optional);

Passion-fruit Lime: 2 passion-fruits, 1 lime (juiced), 1/2 tsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp dijon mustard;

Apple Almond: 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce, 3 tbsp ACV, 1 level tbsp almond butter, 1 tsp maple syrup (optional), pinch cinnamon.

Miso Tahini: 1 lemon (juiced), 1/3 cup warm water, 3 tbsp tahini, 1 tbsp unpasturised miso paste, 1 tsp tamari.

IMG_1429

Key ingredients to have on hand: dijon mustard (look for ones with no added sugar or preservatives), Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), lemons, limes, passionfruits, unpasturised miso paste, nutritional yeast, dulse flakes, tahini, almond butter, unsweetened apple sauce, tamari, maple syrup, herbs and spices.

 

How to keep it clean when dining out

Socialising over food is a part of life, and shouldn’t be the bane of your existence. There are times when you want to indulge and the rules go out the window (that is fine), and there are times where you would like to stick to the rules a little more closely. I eat out once or twice a week for a main meal, and whilst I usually find it relatively easy as I seek out health-oriented cafe’s and restaurants, there is the occasion where I have no control over where we go, or end up somewhere I wouldn’t usually choose. That is often the case when traveling or dining with larger groups! But these occasions don’t need to be avoided entirely, nor do they need to be stressed over. Embrace them and enjoy them for the company and experience, and keep these tips in mind, or in your phone, to gently guide you toward more healthful options.

1. Skip the bread basket, order crudités if on the menu, a veggie based starter to share, or simply olives, if you feel tempted to snack whilst you wait for your meal.

2. Avoid words like creamy, crumbed, crispy, or deep-fried on the menu, it is likely loaded with nasty oils and saturated/trans fats.

3. Let them know you are dairy-intolerant – vegan or not, there is no need for milk, milk powders/solids in your sauces and mains. This also means steering clear of creamy based dressings and sauces which often contain other undesirables like preservatives, thickeners and unhealthy fats etc. Find out why I choose to avoid dairy here.

4. Ask if they can cook in less oil, or use extra-virgin olive oil/coconut oil instead of butter (for vegans/dairy-free) or other vegetable oils.

5. Request dressings and even sauces on the side. Ask for a lemon, balsamic vinegar, tahini or avocado to compensate.

6. Order a bunch of side vegetables as a main – a balanced meal can often be created from a side of sweet potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, steamed greens, grains, side salad etc. Alternatively, see what produce ingredients they use in their other dishes and single out one or two you would like e.g. avocado, quinoa or beans, to add to your sides. This is also a great tip if you are vegan and there is no suitable plant-based option.

7. Ask if they have a vegetarian / vegan menu – these often exist, and are often healthier as veggies are the star of the show! They also tend to be grouped together with other diet-specific requirements i.e. gluten-free, refined sugar-free too.

8. Skip the fries and double the veggies or see if they will steam you some rice or sweet potato instead, if craving something more starch-based. NB: sometimes I do have the fries, moderation 😉

9. At Asian restaurants, see if they have gluten-free Tamari sauce available in place of soy sauce for a happier tummy. Be wary of the sugar used in some sushi-rice, ask if they would be open to swapping for steamed rice, however this might not always be possible.

Enjoy your food, but mostly the dining experience and the company you keep! There is no perfect, and your body can tolerate less-than-ideal choices from time to time 🙂

How to Stay on Track during the Holiday Season

‘Tis the season to be… happy? tired? overwhelmed? overworked? celebrating? Whatever it is you are feeling right now about 2016 coming to an end, holidays upon us, and the prospect of 2017 on the horizon, really take this time to wrap the year up nicely. Don’t let well-formed healthy habits dissipate, and if they haven’t formed yet, don’t wait until Jan 1st 2017 to put them into place! The time is always now to put your best foot forward. I know that there is probably a lot of temptation throughout December, so I have put together a little survival guide. You don’t have to take all of these suggestions, find the ones that speak to you and make it work with your schedule. Every little step toward good health counts. So let’s get started!

Keep healthy habits

  • Wake up to warm water with ½ lemon juice each and every morning, 30 minutes or more before food
  • Maintain your exercise regimen – don’t let it subside during the holidays too much, as this is likely when you need it most! Start your day with something active, as with all the festive activities/family commitments, you are less likely to get it done later, even if this is your usual routine. Definitely a good idea to get a good workout in before any big celebratory feasts! Try to make it fun- try a new class, commit to walks with friends, enjoy the Sydney summer by exercising outdoors, and on days where you just don’t feel like it (read: slightly hungover), opt for a gentle stroll or yoga class. You’ll be happy you did.
  • Drink lots of water, 2L+… hydration is important at a time where there is lots of “cheersing” going on.
  • Sleep should be a priority, when we are overtired, our appetite takes a hit and we tend to overeat.

Further support yourself

  • Keep breakfast light, healthy and nutrient-dense, think green. Breakfast is likely the one meal that won’t be overtaken by festivities, so make it count! Don’t skip it altogether to make up for the fact that you have big lunch/dinner plans. Please! My non-negotiable green smoothie would be a great one to make a habit of throughout the season.
  • Include 1 tsp-tbsp bee pollen in your day to regulate appetite – easy to sprinkle on your morning smoothie (or oats). Bee pollen helps increase energy, alleviate stress, control appetite (due to its phenylalanine content) and assist digestion, woohoo! Note, be careful to make sure you are not allergic to it first, and do not consume if you have asthma.
  • Prioritise fibre – veggies, fruit, gluten-free grains, starches, ground flaxseeds, chia, psyllium husk – we want to ensure you are “eliminating” properly.
  • If you’re noticing reflux or extra bloat, try having 1 tbsp ACV in warm water 15 mins before meals.
  • Sip miso soup (made at home from unpasturised miso paste over low heat so as not to loose the beneficial properties), as it is very soothing for the gut.
  • Try this super soothing digestive aid in the evenings: 2-3 thin slices ginger, small handful mint leaves (or peppermint tea bag), 1 tsp fennel seeds (if you have). Allow to warm on the stove over a low flame, strain as you pour into a mug and drink to ease discomfort.

Come prepared

  • Don’t skip meals to “make-up for” the spread you know you can’t resist later on, it will just make that big meal even bigger.
  • BYO healthy dish that you know will make you feel good and that you can enjoy and share with loved ones. Choose one from here.
  • Have a healthy snack before the party/occasion to ensure you don’t arrive ravenous – my go-to is always vegetables… a bowl of pan-fried broccoli with garlic, Tamari and miso, sprinkled with chili (boost that digestive fire) and a few tbsp of hemp seeds or pumpkin seeds. Or try 1 cup of this super cleansing soup as a snack.

Navigate the table/bar like a nutritionist

  • Greens, greens, greens at every meal
  • Eat more of the sides and salads, where possible leave dressing on the side, you probably don’t/don’t want to know what’s in it! Ask for a lemon instead.
  • Eat slowly, chew lots, and place fork and knife down whilst you chat across the table. Allow your appetite to catch up!
  • Enjoy alcohol in moderation – you know this one! Enjoy the antioxidant properties of a good red wine, or opt for vodka/white rum/gin with soda + loads of lime or lemon or even a splash of fresh orange juice. Skip the tonic- it is full of sugar. Better still, BYO Kombucha instead 🙂

No deprivation

  • Enjoy that holiday treat you have been looking forward to, mindfully and whole-heartedly. Just don’t keep eating the leftovers for breakfast!
  • Make healthy versions of traditional favourites and keep them on hand – gingerbread bliss balls, shortbread, crumble, coconut rough, egg nog etc.
  • Guilt does nothing for you, so leave it behind! If you do “slip-up” and over-eat or eat something you wish you didn’t, accept it, forgive yourself, move on and don’t let it snowball i.e. that mentality where you feel that if you’re already this far in, why not keep going (all night, or even for days). This guilt can also often be the cause of bloating as well! Love yourself enough to pick yourself back up. In these moments it helps to do something nice like sip a tea, take a bath, laugh with a friend, go for a walk, journal, face mask, breathing-exercises etc. do what works for you.

Perspective

  • Remember what this time means to you – maybe it has religious significance, or perhaps it is about family time – whatever it is, it isn’t simply food, food, and only food. Cherish the moments not the meals.
  • Write down your goals right NOW so that you have them fresh and clear in your mind ASAP, and begin to work toward them before the new year. Why wait?

I hope you all have the most wonderful holidays!!

Love and health,

Sami xo

A Day By The Billabong

Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to Billabong Retreat for a few days for a little reset. Just one hour from the city, Billabong is an incredibly convenient escape for a day or two or even one week. Fortunately, I was there for the meditation program, which really allowed me to tap back into my practice, as I have let it slide recently (I go in and out of phases, yoga is my constant :)).

1883-nature11

I thought it would be a good idea to share what a typical day was like, as I have to say, my expectations were exceeded. It was better than the impression I received from the website – it was pure and blissful and very authentic. The staff there have a genuine enthusiasm not only for health and reconnecting with yourself but for ensuring you have the best experience possible. So let me share with you a day by the Billabong…

Morning:

Optional yoga was at 7am so I would wake up around 6:15am to the sounds of nature outside my balcony and natural light streaming through (the best way to wake up, don’t you think?). We had relaxing music available in the rooms so I would put that on, make a lemon and ginger tea and slowly get ready. No reception made checking my phone impossible, another small luxury.

Class would run from 7-8:00am in the morning, and was a more invigorating flow than the evening, but still available to all-levels and very relaxing. The studio is spacious, light-filled and gorgeous! All mats and yoga equipment were there and set up for you. Basia was a beautiful teacher and I loved the way she intertwined philosophy into our practice.

FullSizeRender-2

Breakfast was straight after at 8am, and was always gluten-free and vegetarian. I of course got the vegan option, which wasn’t hard to do – basically no eggs and avoid the yoghurt. Think coconut milk chia puddings with lemon curd and berries, buckwheat pancakes, almond milk oatmeal with berry coulis and granola and/or roast vegetables.

Breakfast by the billabong with @nastasiamarj Vegan pancakes & lemon mousse chia puddings @billabongretreat @straightup_pr

Next, there was a meditation class at 9am for one hour. We were taught different methods of meditation throughout the few days, and got to try 2-3 each class.

After this, it was time to hit the pool – which was actually a magnesium pool!! Magnesium is great for achy muscles and joints, skin conditions and a general feeling of relaxation. It was very warm when I was there so reading by the pool and taking a few dips was just what I needed.

1883-days1

Another day I decided to explore, and so I went on a 1.5-2 hour walk around the area. I saw some amazing properties, endless green fields, gorgeous trees and wildlife. Beautiful birds and farm animals and even a goanna up a tree which was the size of me!

FullSizeRender

Afternoon:

Lunch time was 12:30pm and was again, another incredibly tasty delight. Many of the guests were not vegetarian and kept gushing about how yummy the food was. I feel like it definitely motivated them to eat healthier and try more meatless meals. This made me so happy! A bunch of different salads such as an avocado Greek salad, beetroot quinoa salad, roast pumpkin with black sesame were paired with dairy-free sauces like tahini, pesto or vegan aioli and often there was a frittata to accompany. I was made a special eggless frittata or loaf to replace, which was absolutely divine! I left very satisfied! There was also live music (guitar and vocals) on one of the days too.

IMG_7452

You can book spa and beauty treatments at Billabong, so I had a 60 minute massage, which was heavenly. I felt a little floaty after!

Afterward, it was back to my book or a wander around the Billabong. There is a gorgeous reading and sitting lounge area if you don’t want to read by the pool.

FullSizeRender-3

They provide afternoon tea too, which was either a raw brownie or some bliss balls!!

brownies

I grabbed one and would then head back to my room to run a bath in the outdoor tub on my balcony (I had the deluxe cabin). It was very private and overlooked the billabong. I stayed in here for over an hour reading with a tea. Bliss!

It's about to go down! Epsom salts, tea, book, outdoor tub with a treetop view..... Tranquil sound effects (ie birds) & more of the view on my Insta-story!! @billabongretreat

Evening:

There was an afternoon yoga class from 3:30-5pm…. A very gentle practice that really wound you down and prepared you for a quiet evening. People would then go shower or continue reading, or even colour-in a mandala (a form of meditation we were taught) before dinnertime at 6pm.

Dinner was either similar to lunch – a plethora of colourful salads and vegetables with a baked loaf – or it was a delicious vegetable curry and dahl dish. And don’t worry, they do provide desert! I had an incredible apple crumble one night and avocado mousse the other 🙂

All the colours of the rainbow - gluten-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan .... @billabongretreat you get me ☺️ ps you gotta check out at my Insta story I saw a gigantic goanna today!!!!!!!

After this, there was a final meditation class for the day, before we would head back to our rooms and get ready for bed. I brought my dry brush with me, and some natural beauty products to have a little spa session of my own. Then, I would curl up in bed, read and fall asleep (very easily) to the frogs. You can imagine after a day like that, that sleep was very peaceful! It was so nice to get to sleep a little earlier than usual – no TV, internet, and social distractions – and I made a commitment to myself to carry this through when I came home!

1883-slider1

Thank you Billabong Retreat for a most restful, tasty, and rejuvenating experience! I will definitely be back. I highly recommend this spot for a quick getaway if you live in Sydney, or an extended stay if you are from afar. As I said, it is extremely authentic and has been curated with health, education and self-love in mind. There were people from all walks of life there and they all left talking about when they would be booking back in. A good sign!

IMG_7142

Lemon Water Etiquette

When something becomes an everyday habit, it is important to ensure you are doing it right! By now, most of us are making warm lemon water an essential part of our morning, which is fantastic. However, over the years I have noticed people have a lot of questions about how to do it “properly”. Not to over-complicate it, because the very fact you are doing it regularly deserves applause, but here are the answers to some FAQs so that we can all get the most (beneficial) juice from each squeeze ;)…

1. Keep your lemons in the fridge!

To properly maintain their nutritional integrity. I understand it is nice to have a fruit bowl, but to be honest, with fruit and vegetables, water-soluble vitamins and antioxidants are depleted every hour they are exposed to even just room temperature! Best to keep them in the fridge, particularly vitamin C rich lemons.

2. Use cold water first.

When you squeeze your juice into your glass, don’t pour boiling hot water over the lemon juice. Instead, make sure you fill it up about half way with cold, filtered water first, then add the hot water. This will make warm lemon water, and will not destroy the heat-sensitive vitamins, such as vitamin C.

3. Boosters.

Do you ever vary your brew? Try it a little different week-to-week. You could grate some ginger, or sprinkle ground cayenne, turmeric or cinnamon in your warm water. These are stimulating spices that further assist digestive function and metabolism. This can also help if you are getting bored and need a flavour variation.

4. Use a little zest.

Did you know that much of the lemon’s nutrition, in fact most fruit/veg, is in the peel? There are over 60 different types of flavonoids (antioxidants) in citrus, most of which are highly concentrated in the outer peel. Make sure you save some zest for salads, dressings, sauces and marinades, or grate a little into your morning lemon water. If doing this, it is particularly important you are using organic lemons, as the outer skin of conventional lemons can contain concentrated pesticides and/or wax.

5. Consider a straw.

I must admit, I have only started being more conscious of this lately, however there are some that believe the acidic juice (which is alkalising once it enters our digestive system) can damage tooth enamel. To avoid this, don’t stop drinking lemon water! Rather, drink it through a straw. Personally, I’ve not experienced any damage and have been drinking without a straw for years, however if you are worried or have noticed a change, try using a straw to sip your morning warm lemon water.

6. Wait at least 15 minutes.

I try to stretch it out to 30 minutes, and sometimes leave it 1 hour if I sneak it in before my workout. This gives the body time to digest it, cleanse the system, fire up metabolism and prepare you for your first, delicious meal!

7. Rinse.

You may have heard not to brush your teeth straight away, again, in line with it stripping your teeth and causing damage. However you also don’t want to leave any excess juice sitting on top of your teeth all day. So, a swish of water around your mouth is the way to go to cleanse your pallet and rid the teeth/mouth of any excess.

 

That’s it! Now get squeezing and sipping 🙂

My Vegan Superfood Staples

Ever since turning 100% plant-based, I have become fascinated with all of natures sources of beautiful and beneficial nutrients. What many of us are unaware of is how every nutrient we need comes from the sun (vitamin D), or the earth (everything else). Therefore, in terms of optimal absorption and utilisation, it makes sense to consume them from the primary source. Here is a list of my vegan staples, all of which are brimming with nutrition and make me feel energised and satisfied, not to mention I feel they have helped my skin, hair and nails become smoother, stronger and healthier overall. I actually manage to incorporate most of these in one single meal – my superfood lunch salads. It might seem like a lot, but they each add so much flavour and texture that you begin to crave them! I hope you find them intriguing, try them out and feel the difference in your own body 🙂

Nutritional yeast – brimming with key vitamins and minerals it is also a complete protein (with 18 amino acids), containing 71% protein by weight! Stress and poor diet deplete B vitamins so we could all do with a little dietary boost. Nutritional yeast is a great source of B’s, which offer us assistance with energy levels, brain health, fat metabolism, sleep quality, and hair growth. Note, unless fortified with B12, nutritional yeast is not a reliable source. As a guide, 3 tbsp of nutritional yeast = 9g protein! I often sprinkle this amount on a big green salad, soup, or in a veggie mash.

Sea vegetables – dulse and nori are my go-to’s, but I occasionally also enjoy other varieties such as wakame or kelp (particularly high in iodine). Sea vegetables are full of trace minerals that we don’t usually have access to, specifically iodine. Iodine ensures healthy thyroid function, which is important for metabolism, energy levels and hormonal balance. Sea veggies are a great way to replace salt in a meal, as they are naturally salty and arguably, more nutritious. Another hair-loving nutritious source, they also contain vitamins A, E, B6 and B12, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium and magnesium! Powerful stuff!

Saurkraut/kim-chi – fermented veggies are living foods! This means they contain active enzymes which help digest our food, as well as good bacteria called probiotics that ensure healthy gut function, and B vitamins. All this assists immunity and digestive health for optimal wellbeing. I try have about 2-3 tbsp at least once a day.

Chia/flax – just 1 tbsp a day can ensure you meet your omega-3 quota! Omega-3 is important for many things including hormonal balance, brain health and nerve function. These two seeds also provide you with healthy doses of insoluble AND soluble fibre which helps with blood sugar/appetite control, steady energy levels, and healthy colon function. Flax also provides us with lignans, cancer-protective and important for heart health. Try 1 tbsp of either in bircher/porridge, flax on top of a stir-fry, or sip on a few tsp chia in your water throughout the day (you won’t even taste it!).

Hemp seeds – 3 tbsp = 11g easily assimilated protein for long, lean muscles! This is one of natures most concentrated sources of essential fatty acids, particularly GLA. I don’t have this every day, but try to have it on a particularly active day. When I do I sprinkle it on my oats or enjoy it in/on top of a smoothie.

Quinoa/brown rice/oats/millet – I try to rotate the grains I use as much as possible to ensure a broad spectrum of different nutrients, as each grain has a different nutrient profile. One of the best thing that has come out of me going vegan is my new-found appreciation for quality carbohydrates, ridding myself of any trace of “Carbophobia” I definitely once had. The truth is, we are designed to eat carbohydrates as a mainstay in our diet (we produce the digestive enzyme amylase, which break down carbs, whilst some other animals don’t), and thus carbs are required for optimal muscle and brain function. These grains are gluten-free (oats contain trace amounts of gluten in Australia due to crop rotation, but they seem to be fine with most people, and if not, you can source gluten-free oats usually from abroad). Fantastic for amino acids (protein), B vitamins and fibre, these either go in my breakfast (oat or quinoa porridge), in my lunch-time salads, or with a stir-fry/curry for dinner. Complex carbohydrates like these keep me full, energised, non-irritable, and focused.

Parsley – a great vegan source of antioxidants and loads of vitamins and minerals like iron, try my tabbouleh for a healthy hit! You can also throw a bit of parsley into a green smoothie, juice or salad regularly to up your dose. As a powerful natural detoxifier and diuretic that prevents bloating, water retention and cellulite, it’s a goodie.

Miso – think of it it as vegan bone broth! This is a great gut-loving, plant-based alternative, that is soothing and provides enzymes and probiotics to promote healthy digestive function. Note, you must choose unpasturised miso, in order to reap these benefits. Alkalising, anti-viral, immune-boosting, cancer-preventative, antioxidant-rich and great for digestion… perfect as a snack with some sea veg (bonus points!) or used in salad dressings, try to incorporate it regularly.

Sprouts / Microgreens – the most powerful foods for cellular regeneration and health, sprouts are up to 50 x more nutritious than their mature counterparts!! They provide antioxidants, protein, enzymes and minerals that are easy to absorb and utilise.

Non-negotiable Green Drink – this one isn’t so much a food as a meal/snack, but it definitely is part of my everyday routine and something I source an abundant amount of nutrition from. Brimming with greens, I make sure I have one of these each day to slot in a huge amount of dietary fibre (it is usually a smoothie with over 3 servings of greens, but if I am out and about, it might be a juice), antioxidants and vitamins and minerals. A power-packed green drink is really the best energiser, I feel cleansed and incredibly vibrant after mine!

Are we tired of avoiding fruit yet?

Hi guys,

what I am about to post might be a little controversial. I get it, I myself jumped on the “all sugar is sugar” bandwagon and went through a long period of avoiding all things sweet, including fruit. In fact, if you look back at some of my recipes, you will see I used to make a lot of fruit-free smoothies, replacing it with avocado or soaked nuts and stevia/xylitol.

Whilst I think limiting fruit has a place, like in issues with Candida overgrowth, my transition to a 100% plant-based diet has seen a revival in my love affair for fruit. It has brought to my attention the very warped way in which I once viewed whole foods, like fruit, and the way I believe so many of us still do.

You see, we live in a world where packaged food with nutrition panels, ingredients we can’t pronounce, flavour numbers we don’t understand, and buzz words that deceive, are viewed as “good”, yet we are afraid of the plant foods that grow from the earth and have been eaten by humans for centuries. Hmmmmm...

It goes back to the simple concept, if you can recognise it, your body probably does too!

Fruit is natures beautifully alkaline, perfectly packaged, fibre-rich supplement.

When we consume fruit we get vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, folate and calcium. We also get the benefit of antioxidants such as organic phenols, which have been shown to decrease oxidation helping to prevent chronic disease and promoting healthy aging. The fibre acts as a buffer to the natural sugar being consumed, ensuring it is slow releasing and preventing those dreaded highs and lows of refined sugars. Not only that, but ripe fruits are the most alkaline of all foods. We want our body to stay alkaline to prevent chronic disease and toxicity and make us feel and look our most vibrant (animal-based foods are acid-forming, which causes the body to leech specific nutrients that balance this acidic effect, like calcium). And last but not least, fruit contains water making it extremely hydrating, which never goes astray when so many of us struggle to meet our daily quota of 2L water.

With all these incredible health benefits, we have somehow managed to demonize fruit and glorify artificial, man-made formulas.

So how did we get here?

Big bad fructose: Any ill effect of fructose, the sugar found in fruit, is strictly limited to that of industrial fructose such as high-fructose corn-syrup, and not fruit. In fact, this study proves that a diet that restricts fructose from added sugars but includes fruit, is more beneficial for weight-loss than a diet that limits both fruit and added sugars! It is definitely a combination of the above health benefits that ensures fruit doesn’t have the same effect on our blood sugar as refined sugars. Indeed, restricting fruit intake has even been shown to be ineffective in type 2 diabetes patients.

Here is something else I have come to understand – when you cut a food out completely you usually need to fill it’s void with something else. What I found myself doing was replacing a lot of my fruit with nuts, seeds and oils, essentially replacing healthy carbohydrates with good fats. I didn’t feel good on a high-fat diet, and even though I still promote good fats as part of a balanced diet, I think we are all too concerned with eating fat and not concerned enough about eating fibre and nutrient-dense plant foods.

We are in fact designed to eat carbohydrates as a large portion of our diet – particularly land and ocean fruits and vegetables, even whole grains. Yet so many of us are crowding out carbohydrates with protein and fat. We actually have 5 tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. As you can see, sweet is indeed one of them, meaning we need not feel guilty for wanting something sweet! And fruit is the perfect answer.

The more I eat real, whole foods, the more I can eat fresh fruit and even a little dried fruit, with no guilt, no bloating and no weight gain. It actually makes me feel so, so good and alive! This is where another age old comes into play – listen to your body. We are unique individuals.

Experiment, eat consciously, tune into yourself.

Don’t fear a whole food group, especially one as vast, nutritious and natural as fruit. We are fruit eaters – look at the banana-loving chimpanzee, our closest relative!

I just want you to think about how you view food, and begin to see the irony of fearing foods that are whole, pure and come from nature.

Surely, that doesn’t seem right?

Love, health & wholefoods, always

Sami xx

Cleansing with Cali Press

Hi guys!

Some of you have asked me about the 3 day cleanse I recently did with Cali Press. I thought I would share my experience with you, discuss what you might get out of it and let you know some juicy ways to enhance a cleanse, should you choose to do one yourself!

What it involved…

I did the Super-Flu fighter Juice Cleanse centered around boosting immunity. Fitting for the season! It has been formulated to ensure that the cleanser is receiving a rich amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids, and phytochemicals to ward off the winter flu.

IMG_1986

You receive 4 delicious cold-pressed juices a day, full of veggies with a little bit of fruit. You also get 2 warming miso soups, 4 cups of Ovvio herbal tea daily and a “fireball” shot for each evening (that’s 12 juices, 6 soups, 12 teas, 3 shots!). Some of the superfoods used in the cleanse include ginger, echinacea, olive leaf, dandelion leaf, turmeric, green capsicum, kiwi, spinach, kale, oregano oil and lemon. So nourishing!

FullSizeRender-11

I have done a few cleanses before, some with companies, some on my own, and I have to say, I am a fan. I feel they are a perfect little break for my digestive system and allow me time to be really gentle and kind to myself. Even though I love to cook, it is nice to stay out of the kitchen for a few days (which can be time-consuming!), reset and recharge. I do find when I do them with external companies (instead of juicing myself) it requires less self-discipline as they make up the rules for you. I believe doing cleanses with the change of season is a great way to incorporate a few each year and ensure you are looking after yourself in this transitional period.

How you will feel…

It really depends on your eating patterns and your digestive system. Of course, if you are not used to eating clean it might have a different effect on you, due to the detoxifying effect and withdrawals (I’m looking at you coffee!). Hopefully this subsides, and after day 2 you feel better than ever!

I personally feel amazing whilst I cleanse. I sleep well, wake up refreshed and feel light and energetic throughout my day. I also find I am more productive. When I am out of the kitchen and my mind is off food and thinking about what I am making for meals, I get a lot more done! Therefore, I feel it is both a digestive and mental vacation 🙂

juice

You might get a little peckish, but it’s nothing that a herbal tea can’t fix. Once you are past the hunger, which is often mental, you will realise you feel quite lively. You learn to drink slowly and mindfully and savour the taste of your juices. You can feel your body drinking up the nutrients and thanking you. I feel like your senses are enhanced and you begin to salivate by the sight and smell of your drinks, which is fabulous for digestion. Your taste buds completely reset, and that first green juice which may have tasted more like spinach than apple on the first day, tastes sweeter by day 3! By the last day, I could really go a fourth or fifth day. And really, we are resilient, we can try just about anything for a few days!

FullSizeRender-7

Things to remember…

This is not a “quick fix” – I don’t believe in viewing your cleanse as a quick-fix to weightloss and a flat tummy, because that is not what they are about and you will likely binge-eat the second you finish. Rather, if you have been indulging too much lately, look at this as a reset and a gentle stepping stone to forming healthy patterns post-cleanse. You are doing something good for your system. The intention is important.

Drink slowly and mindfully – as I mentioned, you want to give your system all the signals it would usually receive when you are preparing a meal. Look at the juice, smell it, sip it slowly, even swishing it around in your mouth. Really savour and enjoy it!

Ease your way back into eating solid food – after a cleanse, it is a good idea to ease your way back into eating slowly. Try not to gorge on every food craving that potentially popped into your head during the past 3 days! I began my day after with a green smoothie full of simple whole-food ingredients (i.e. no powders and packaged liquids). You might then want to munch on some raw veggies throughout the day, make yourself an abundant vegan salad with some good fats for lunch (avocado, extra virgin olive oil, raw nuts/seeds), and enjoy a warming soup or veggie dish with some grains/legumes for dinner. I’d love it if you avoided coffee for the day after too 🙂 Your system is sensitive.

Don’t over-exercise – in line with the below point, this is a time to rest. I understand the desire to do some daily exercise, which I fully encourage, but make sure to check in with how you feel and not overdo it. Pilates, gentle yoga, walking and a short light jog are about all I would recommend, but of course, everyone is different so see how you feel. I did my own yoga each morning, went to one yoga class, one pilates session and did two 45-60 minute walks. That felt right.

This is a time to relax – I understand that the show must go on, and you might have work and duties to attend to. Try to incorporate some restorative practices into your day each day of the cleanse (as we should every day), to truly give your system a well-deserved break.

Additions…

I was very impressed with how easy it was to stick to the cleanse. In the past I have usually completed cleanses that included a smoothie or a nut mylk as well as a few juices daily, so I was worried I would be starving! However, as I mentioned, once you get past the mental aspects you are actually very satisfied. The one time I felt like I needed something more, I munched on some raw nori sheets (seaweed) / added them to my miso 🙂 If you feel like you have to have something additional, I recommend raw nori, a little avocado, some raw celery/cucumber sticks and of course, more herbal teas.

I still had my warm lemon water every morning, as it is part of my morning ritual, and I love it so much. I then would have my Ovvio tea, do some daily exercise and start with my first juice. I also continued to take my probiotics and added a magnesium oxide supplement in the evening to ensure I was eliminating properly.

IMG_1987

Some juicy ways to enhance a cleanse…

Here is a list of great activities you can do to take your mind off food and enhance the cleansing process (note: just do what you can!)…

  • Dry body brush
  • Full body exfoliation
  • Facial or DIY facial
  • Long bath with essential oils
  • Diffuse/sniff essential oils
  • Yoga – self-practice or a gentle flow/yin class
  • Walking
  • Infrared sauna
  • Colonics
  • Float tank
  • Massage
  • Reading
  • Journalling

So, are you ready to embark on a cleanse yourself?! As you can see, it can be quite delicious in both taste and experience! Cali Press is offering a 10% discount off cleanses for the remainder of July, just use the code SAMI10 at check out.

I hope this was helpful! If you have any further questions, please email me 🙂

Love & health,

Sami xx

meee

Part 3 My Health Story: Vegan, My Food Philosophy, Eating For Longevity

Several people had recently mentioned to me a movie called Cowspiracy, and I had this feeling in my gut that it would change my life. I wasn’t prepared for this, I was still of the belief that I needed animal protein. I knew if I watched just ten minutes of it, I would go vegan. Nevertheless, when my boyfriend, Mike (who had been vegetarian for a year at this point), said that he wanted to watch the movie, I knew all signs were pointing to the obvious – to stop living in ignorance and make an informed choice. So I did. I was wrong, within the first three minutes I decided I was going to go vegan! Mike and I said we would trial it for one month, which easily became two, and has now become a lifelong commitment.

There are many moral reasons I could list – environmental concerns, animal welfare issues – let’s be honest, we all know them, we just try not to think about them. And for sure, that is what breaks my heart and what grabbed my attention at first. You see, I am of the belief that what is good for the macro is good for the micro – so it makes sense to me that the best diet for us as beings on this planet, should be compatible with the environment and other creatures around us, so that it is sustainable. Therefore the choices we make for our health, can and should support the vitality of the world around us.

However, most interestingly for me as a nutrition student, it came down to the cold hard facts regarding the correlation between standard western diets and disease, and the way in which we have allowed mainstream media and food marketing to distort our beliefs, our instincts and our relationship with eating. We have become entirely disconnected from our food; what it is, where it comes from, what it does for us. I came to realise that there are far bigger holes in the western diet than “protein-deficiency” (which is extraordinarily uncommon, by the way), and that a diet centered around real, whole-foods makes the most sense on a biological and biochemical level.

Why is it that for almost every chronic illness, a vegan diet is prescribed and found beneficial, yet to healthy people, it is perceived as harmful, or wrong?

It just makes no sense!

As a health coach and nutritionist-in-training, I am fully aware of the fact that I will be presented with clients that do not wish to embrace a fully vegan diet. People don’t change overnight, and my own journey is a perfect example of that. My aim is to encourage you to eat in a way that is conscious, vibrant, and sustainable. So to do that, I stand by simple principles that can be applied to everyone:

  1. Eat more whole foods that exude life, not death – this includes plant foods, raw foods, fermented foods, sprouts, herbs and weeds!

  2. Don’t fear entire food groups – Carbs, Fats or Protein;

  3. Don’t fear any whole-food – that goes for fruits, dried fruit, grains and white potatoes (the common ones people, my past self included, seem to view as “bad”) – we live in a world where artificial sweeteners and processed protein bars and shakes are deemed “healthy”, but the banana, a whole-food, given to us by nature, is bad… really?

  4. Cut processed and refined foods, particularly refined sugar; and

  5. Source, prepare and eat your food consciously and mindfully.

Winter or summer & everything in between- I love my morning smoothies They make me feel energised! In the cooler months we naturally gravitate to more warming & grounding meals, but it's important to remember to still consume raw fruit/veg daily A powered up green smoothie first thing can offer up to 5 servings of fruit/greens before 9am!! I go for 3 full handfuls of different leafy greens, 1-2 pieces of ripe fruit & maybe some herbs Alkalising, hydrating, detoxifying & full of fibre, antioxidants & other disease-fighting nutrients Especially useful in winter, when we want to keep our #immunity in check Have a think... how many servings of raw greens are you having daily? Starter salads are another great way to get them in☺️ #drinkyourgreens #smoothielove

I believe that we all need to reprogram how we look at food. Yes it is yummy, comforting, and often celebratory, but do we stop and realise that it is actually a source of energy? No. Do we truly understand that food is a source of nutrients? Not those supplements you occasionally pop, but real, beautifully packaged, naturally intended vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and fibre! No. Do we make the connection between the food we put in our mouths and the way we feel? Mood, energy levels, digestive discomfort, sleep patterns, hormonal changes? NO! What’s more, is the connection made between our food choices, and our susceptibility to disease?

NO. I don’t believe the majority of the world does view food this way.

My vegan journey has taught me many things, but one of them is certainly regarding the way in which I view food. I view it as a source of nourishment, as preventative medicine, as my ticket to vibrance, vitality and longevity. I don’t want to wait until I am sick, I want to be consuming the diet that ensures I stay as healthy as I possible can right now, in this moment. And I believe, we all could do with eating many more plant foods.

So, this is what leads me to where I am today. Happy, healthy and vegan! I was reluctant to “announce” it to my readers and friends because I didn’t want to seemingly push my beliefs onto you, but mainly, because I wanted to feel it in my own body first so I could speak from some experience. I can now say with conviction that this is my lifelong way of living and eating. It is not a diet, not a FAD, or a ploy to get thin or look a certain way, it is a lifestyle choice to consistently feel optimal and live a long and healthy life.

If I can encourage you to do anything, it is to make the connection between food and your overall health, not just your size. Start thinking about how many greens and other veggies you eat daily, and begin to incorporate more into every meal, and even every snack. These are the foods that will enhance your health, not inhibit it. Losing weight, feeling energetic, getting thick hair and nails, glowing skin, are just happy side effects. But I believe the intention is important:

let’s eat for longevity, not looks.

Thank you for reading, your support means the world to me.

Love & health, always

Sami xx

Feasting! Last breakfast spread at the beautiful Mu Fruit salad, granola with coco yoghurt, a young coconut & a watermelon juice for me this morn The location is breath-taking! Up high on the cliffs surrounded by green with the big blue ocean sprawled behind me I'm holding a warm lime water hehe they didn't have lemons ... making do & trying to keep up my morning ritual wherever I go! Stay tuned on the blog for my Thursday Asian-inspired recipe...

Best Natural Beauty Buys!

Let me just say, I am no expert in navigating the beauty aisle in a store. I know food labels like the back of my hand, but when it comes to beauty products… not so much! Since moving into my new home I have made a big effort to educate myself when choosing household and personal products. Just as with food – buzz words like “natural” and “pure” don’t always mean what they might appear to. With all the environmental toxins out there that are unavoidable, it makes sense to me to try to minimize exposure through making conscious consumer choices when it comes to what you bring into your home. Why? Well, in a nut shell, these chemical substances can interfere with our health (endocrine and reproductive functions), in a similar way to what we eat can. We often forget that our skin is one of our largest organs, and absorbs what we “feed” it just as much as what we put into our mouth does.

I trial a lot of products- some I buy, some that get recommended to me, others that get sent my way or handed out in goodie bags from events… so I have accumulated quite the collection of good, and not-so-good personal care items. Here are a few that I have used long enough to notice true benefits, and would love to share with you to help you clean up your own regimen…

As I mentioned, I am certainly no authority when it comes to beauty products. For that, I turn to one trusted website that I know scrutinizes each product to ensure it is 100% natural, no nasties, ethically produced and of high quality. These goodies are my top picks of the moment from Orli and have really added value to my beauty regimen (note: you can get 15% off with my code “SamiBloom”!):

Erica Brooke Deodorant – When I say I’ve tried a lot of natural beauty products, the one I have trialled the most is natural deodorant. I have been recommended dozens, by people I trust, and still haven’t found one that suits me. Until now! I love this one because it isn’t roll on which means your not spreading your own bacteria around, has the Orli tick of approval and it actually works- no funny smells, streaks, or sweat patches. I’m a fan!

Adorn Cosmetics Make-Up I can safely say this is one of the better natural make ups I have used. I love this hydrating crème as it moisturizes my skin as well as offers coverage, and is also really great when combined with my moisturiser for a lighter coverage, making it last longer. I haven’t tried all their products, but this foundation has so far proven to be a favourite. I like their concealer too.

Earth Yard Essential Oils – ahhh oils, I really have grown fond of them! This is my go-to brand because it is Australian, 100% pure, organic and reasonably priced. They don’t add synthetic fillers and don’t even mix oils if they’re from 2 different native regions! Some favourites are lavender for calm, lemongrass/tea-tree diluted in cream for blemishes, rosemary to assist study/memory, and a blend of jasmine and frankincense in my diffuser. Delicious!

Kester Black Nail Polish – I am not the best at painting my own nails, but I do take this brand with me to the salon when I treat myself to a mani/pedi. Nail polish is hardly a natural product, so when choosing to paint your nails it is best to choose a “five free formula”, meaning it is free from the 5 main nasty chemicals commonly found in polish.

Some other goodies…

Konjac sponge – a 100% natural sponge made from vegetable fibers of Konjac (this one also includes exfoliating bamboo charcoal). I use this to wash my face with. It ensures I don’t pull on my face or aggressively rub my skin with a towel – not to mention that it itself is rich in natural vitamins and mineral to enrich and rejuvenate the skin.

Jason Sea Fresh toothpaste – Say what you will about the flouride debate, I know where I stand on it. Please do your own research, here is a great article on it, but this is a toothpaste that I love that is SLS and flouride free and hasn’t made my teeth fall out! In fact, I often get compliments on how white they are. Pleasant taste too!

A’kin Revitalising Cellular Radiance Serum – This is more of an oil than a serum… organic, cruelty-free and enriched with antioxidants and omega 3, 6, 9. I find it really hydrating and “plumping”, meaning it is getting well used in the colder months where I find my skin is dryer. I wear it underneath my moisturiser at night time. I’ve really noticed a difference!

Dry Brush – the benefits of dry brushing are well-known- it increases circulation, promotes lymph drainage, removes dry/dead skin and reduces cellulite. I find it invigorating and like to use it before a shower (if I am not sweaty from a work-out!) 3-4 times a week. You simply start at your feet and brush upward toward your heart, using light pressure, and then downward toward your heart from the upper sections. You can usually find one at a chemist or health food store.

Supplement Dispenser – just thought I would throw this in as the organised, perfectionist in me just loves my little (or rather, big) pill case! Pick one up at your chemist, and re-fill each week with all your non-refrigerated supplements to ensure you never forget to take them 🙂

Bang For Your Buck: Why Juicing From Home is Double the Nutrition and Half the Price

We all love our fresh fruit and vegetable juices, and rightly so. Not only do they taste amazing, they’re an awesomely easy way to boost our diets with all the right nutrients. However, not all juices are created equally. It turns out that how your juice is extracted makes a huge difference to both the nutritional pack they punch, and to your hip pocket.

In fact, there are two types of juicers; traditional (or centrifugal), and cold pressed (or masticating).

Traditional juicers extract juice using high speed and heat, a process that can readily destroy and oxidise nutrients, antioxidants and enzymes (also visible in your rapidly separating juice). Cold press juicers, on the other hand, use a non-heat, slow pressed extraction process that retains maximum nutritional levels.

Amazingly, studies* have shown that cold pressed juicers extract up to 50% more nutrients (including up to 42% more vitamin C, and 60% more vitamin A), all while yielding up to 50% more juice.

There are many other health benefits associated with enjoying your juice cold pressed. They can help manage weight, detoxify and cleanse our tired bodies, and prevent and fight a variety of ailments including that nasty winter flu. Juices also fit neatly into even the busiest of lifestyles, and can tempt even the pickiest of palates.

Purchasing cold pressed juice from your local café or bar can be a pricey exercise. In fact, if you were to buy a cold pressed juice every day from your local, you’d spend around $3500 a year (based on a conservative $9.50 per juice.) Yes, you’d feel amazing – but you would be spending ridiculous amounts of money in the process.

As a health food enthusiast and lover for fresh produce, I’ve found that cold pressing at home is the cheaper, simpler, and tastier alternative to store bought juice. By using the Mod Juicer, I’ve switched my daily café juice to juicing at home, and saved thousands of dollars in the process. It’s amazing how a simple switch can have such an impact, both to our heath and our wealth.

Juicing at home allows you to take full control over the quality of your produce, your recipes, your ingredients – all when you want it.

Only like to shop organic or local? Hate beetroot? Allergic to ginger? Want to start a detox immediately after a big weekend? All totally do-able. Not only that, you can also make your own tasty nut butters and natural nut milks. More wellness, and more savings. Here are two recipes loved by the Mod Team:

of raw almonds overnight in water (for at least 12 hours)
l of filtered water and add a small pinch of salt, mix together

Almond Milk

  1. Soak 100g of raw almonds overnight in water (for at least 12 hours)
  2. Take 800ml of filtered water and add a small pinch of salt, mix together
  3. Turn Mod on and add a quarter of the soaked almonds, followed by a quarter of the water
  4. Continue alternating soaked almonds with water until all added
  5. Waste from the nuts will begin appear in the pulp chute
  6. Open the juice tap to let flow your tasty, fresh nut milk. Enjoy!

Nut Butter

  1. Soak 200g of nuts (we love almonds as they are so alkaline) overnight in filtered water
  2. Drain nuts
  3. Replace the metal mesh and plastic rotation wiper with your clear plastic filter in your Mod Cold Press
  4. Open the orange juice stopper located inside the juice drum (where all the juice collects) (don’t remove, just move it aside)
  5. Place your nuts down the chute and watch in amazement as nut butter is created!
  6. OPTIONAL – Stir through a little sea salt once complete if you like a little seasoning to your nut butter

 

By Katharine McCarthy, Founder and Director of Mod Cold Press

Katharine McCarthy is the Founder and Director of Australian owned and run cold press juicer company, Mod Cold Press. Health enthusiast Katharine founded Mod Cold Press in 2015, after struggling with her first child’s distaste for fruit and vegetables. Katharine discovered cold press juicing as a complementary way to nourish her children. Here, Katharine saw the opportunity to create an efficient cold press juicer that was affordable, offered minimal wastage, and was aesthetically pleasing. The Mod Juicer comes in black and white and is $599 RRP available online at www.modjuicer.com.au.

For more information on Mod Cold Press Juicer head to the website and follow on Instagram: @mod_cold_press, Facebook: www.facebook.com/modjuicer, and the hashtag #mod_cold_press.

Sources:

*Korean Food Research Institute; Michelsen Laboratories Inc.

+Example based on purchasing a juicing box capable of creating at least 7 juices a week at a cost of $35 per box for 52 weeks. Mod Cold Press Juicer RRP $599, currently on sale at $499. Example based on sale price.

The enigma that is Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance” is a term that gets thrown around a lot. Some people have it, some people think they have it, while most people longingly aspire to it. The phrase itself assumes that “work” is not a part of “life”, and must be “balanced” against it. It has become almost enigmatic, we can’t describe it or crack its code, leaving many somewhat intimidated by it. How could we ever balance one (work), so demanding and integral to our financial situation, with the other (life), that encompasses so much?!

Defining the work aspect is pretty straight forward – you know when you’re showing up each day, hitting goals and adding value to the business. But life, how do we judge if we are showing up and adding value to our lives?

It is increasingly recognised that quality of life is strongly intertwined with quality of health. Not simply our physical health i.e. what we eat or how often we move, but also our mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. This involves relationships, leisure, pleasure, self-reflection, self-love, beliefs and much, much more.

With one third of our lives spent in the office, how are we expected to find the time to fit in all this other stuff?

The truth is, many of us don’t. We prioritise careers and allow our health to take second chair. That looming deadline… or time for the gym? Early morning meeting… or a much-needed 15 minute meditation? Coffee to get me through… or herbal tea? Late night working… or time with loved ones? So many of us sacrifice the latter for the former far too often. By the end of the day, we are so exhausted and resentful of the sacrifices we have to make, we often make further poor choices – the thought of preparing a healthy meal ridiculous compared to the easier options like takeaway and comfort food, the idea of a yoga class (if we even left the office in time) ludicrous when there’s chores to be done, relationships to nurture or simply mindless reality TV on offer.

With workplace stress levels continually rising, it is becoming abundantly clear that the work-life scales are tipping unfavourably for the majority of us. Physically, stress is impacting 75% of Australians, while mentally it is taking its toll on 68%. Only half of Australians feel their employers truly care about their wellbeing.

To combat this, a few forward-thinking organisations have recognised the integral role health initiatives have with cultivating corporate culture and business success. Implementing programs such as lunch-time yoga offer desk-bound employees an opportunity to exercise, ease their minds and reconnect, within work hours.

This is not only fantastic for their overall health but also serves as a business tool – the midday boost increases focus and productivity, encourages team-building and makes employees feel that they are getting more from their job than simply a pay cheque.

When I teach corporate yoga classes, the first comment I get after Savasana is “I could take a nap!” But 10 minutes later, they all report feeling much more alert and focused, and this stays with them throughout their afternoon. Students are happier because they are getting their workout in, they feel valued by their employer, their work improves and they enjoy the social aspect. The benefits are endless!

Work-life balance isn’t necessarily asking, are we hour-for-hour spending equal time on both, but rather, are we giving as much energy to our wellbeing and relationships, as we are to our occupation? Are we supporting ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally, so that we can fulfill our jobs and career ambitions to the best of our ability?

Organisations need to help with the balancing act by prioritising employee wellbeing. That one hour within the work day just once a week truly makes all the difference to tipping the scales back in our favour. By implementing a wellness initiative employers assist their team by decreasing stress, increasing productivity and generating an inclusive corporate culture that fosters loyalty to the business.

If you’ve identified that your company needs to introduce a healthy dose of yoga, why not suggest in-house lunchtime classes?

I’d love to hear from you! Enquire today: sami@samibloom.com

The Beauty Bible Feature: Muse of the Moment

Hi guys!

I was recently interviewed by The Beauty Bible on all things beauty. A little different to the questions I usually answer! I truly believe that the best beauty tip is a clean and healthy diet, and I love that people are realising this more and more. However! There are definitely some tips and tricks I have picked up along the way from trial and error, especially since making the switch to natural, cruelty-free products. Read the article here to find out about my skincare regimen, morning routine, favourite beauty products plus more!

My Interview with Orli The Natural Beauty Co. + Discount!!

Hi guys!

I was recently introduced to a wonderful natural beauty website called Orli (Organic Living) The Natural Beauty Co, and have been hooked every since. Partly because of how gorgeous the website layout is, partly due to the confidence I have in the products that have been carefully selected for it. Jo, the founder, is a wealth of wisdom when it comes to all the nasty toxins and chemicals that can be found in beauty products. Not only does she sell the best of the best, but she writes wonderful, informative blog posts on how to navigate through the chemical maze of the beauty industry.

Jo has carefully curated her range after having gone through each and every ingredient with a fine tooth comb to ensure she only stocks the most pure, authentic, Australian brands, sans nasties. She values quality over quantity and has found a little bit of everything in each beauty category. So rest assured, you are in good hands while browsing Orli!

I was lucky enough to be featured on the Orli blog in a little Q&A. I absolutely loved the questions I was asked and had a lot of fun answering them. I believe they hit on some really important topics. I would love it if you guys could head over to the Orli website and have a read! Let me know what you think. You can find the interview here.

Also, you can use my code “SamiBloom” at checkout to receive a 15% discount on any purchase! There are A LOT of goodies – but some of my favourites are the essential oils (sorry, just all of them), the Kester Black nail polish (Fairy Floss), Adorn concealer and the Mokosh Hydrosol Toner 🙂

Thanks for reading my loves and enjoy my interview!

Sami xx

 

 

My Own Bali Self-Retreat

I don’t believe you have to go to an expensive health retreat to have a healthy experience in Bali. I believe that wherever we go – Bali, Bowral or Bermuda – we can curate our own health holiday.

While I was booking my trip I toyed with the idea of booking a fancy retreat for at least some of the trip. My partner and I do this trade off where he get’s to do what he wants for half the trip (it’s a no brainer – chase waves and surf all day) and I get to own the other half (duh, yoga). So I knew that I had a get-out-of-jail-free card to pick a hotel of my choosing. But the truth is, I ended up finding so many gorgeous boutique hotels that either offered daily yoga themselves or were close enough to a studio that did. What’s more, they were much more affordable, just as luxurious and most even had a couple of healthy items on the menu. But I knew from my previous time in Bali that there is absolutely no need to worry about where will I find gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan, healthy food, because Bali, especially where we were going, fully caters to this crowd.

So I booked into the places that appealed to me, knowing full well that I could create my own cleanse/detox/retreat with all the healthy food and yoga Bali has to offer and a few of my own guidelines to follow. I’m not going to pretend that the below “rules” were all planned out from the beginning – as a health coach and nutritionist-in-training, I guess these sort of came naturally to me as I went. By day 4, as I was sipping my daily coconut poolside, I had an idea that I was indeed creating my own wellness escape and that perhaps some of you who have lusted over a luxurious health retreat might benefit from me sharing my experience with you. So that is all this is – me guiding you on your own no-guilt getaway. All you need to do is pick a destination, do a bit of research on cafes and yoga spots (or gyms, pilates, whatever you are into), and commit to a clean holiday experience. It might seem a bit crazy, planning a trip without planning to drink, party and over-indulge on ice cream, but to be honest it really is what a vacation should be about – relaxing and recharging.

I’d prefer to come home from a holiday with a clear mind, fresh body and rejuvenated spirit so I can settle right back into the swing of things.

The below tips are specific to Bali but there is no reason they can’t be tweaked to a destination of your choice. So without further ado, here is my own Bali self-retreat that I hope can help you on your next trip to paradise!

Daily yoga most hotels offer morning yoga for around $10 but if not, a hotel or studio nearby will.

Incidental cardio walking around sight seeing, beach walks, not having a car, snorkeling, swimming etc. will all have you leading a much more active lifestyle then you probably do at home. I was making a conscious effort, where there was a long pool to swim 20-40 laps every other day – a luxury I don’t often get at home.

Ocean swims most days – if you can squeeze it into the schedule, jump into the ocean or pool. There is something so cleansing about this. It is especially nice after your morning yoga.

Vitamin D – 15 minutes of sun exposure each side (laying down) before creaming up with sunscreen and/or sitting under an umbrella. This might sound controversial considering “slip, slop, slap” has been ingrained in us here in Australia, but the research supports this. Sunscreen nullifies your bodies ability to receive adequate amounts of Vit D. Watch this video here for more if you are interested/concerned.

A coconut a day – sometimes 2! You obviously don’t have to if coconut is not your jam but other then the well-renown health benefits (hydrating, alkalizing, rich in potassium, magnesium, antioxidants, cytokinins → anti-aging, anti-cancer effects) It helps you feel like you are on vacay (in case you forgot), replaces the need for a pool-time cocktail and makes a delicious mid-morning healthy snack. Enjoy the young coconut flesh too!

Vegan diet – I always subscribe to a vegan diet when I travel through Asia, and I can honestly say I have never been sick to date. No Bali belly… ever (I’ve been 5 times). This might scare some of you or sound drastic but I truly believe a break from heavier foods such as meat can do your digestion wonders. There is a reason that most health retreats cater this way. It gives your digestion a well-deserved break, alkalises the body, cuts out a lot of processed sh*t and encourages you to eat more plants/raw food. Obviously don’t binge on hot chips and soy milkshakes, but open your mind up to the endless possibilities of plant-based cuisine, try those quirky cafes and most importantly embrace wholefoods.

Find your nearest health cafes – Bali is full of them! My 3 x a day looked something like… B: smoothie bowl or fruit salad with nuts and granola, L: quinoa or red rice salad with hummus, avocado & seeds or jackfruit tacos (!!!), D: Coconut curry with tempeh and extra veggies with a green/fruity juice. Snacks = coconut + flesh and maybe some local fresh fruit. Salaks are a favourite! Oh, and we would often make room for a raw, refined-sugar-free dessert. This is the kind of holiday indulgence I am all about!

10 glasses+ of FILTERED water – again, no Bali belly here please! Stick to filtered water. Obviously so important to stay hydrated in hot climates.

No alcohol – fruit juice, smoothies and coconuts for me!

8-10 hours sleep each night – I slept like a baby whilst I was away. It wasn’t that we were wasting our days sleeping in, but rather, getting to sleep earlier, especially without TV or computers keeping us up and messing with our sleep cycle. 9pm bedtime 6-7am rise!

Reading, writing, minimal social media use each day – do the things that better you not that waste time, make you feel insecure and distract you from the good all around you.

Massages and body scrubs – take relaxation to the next level and treat yourself to one, two, or twelve massages and other beauty treatments to really zen out and indulge your body (it’s not always about our tastebuds). They can be as little as $20 for one hour in Bali, so enjoy it whilst you can!

Meditate – this is one of those things we “just don’t have time for” in our everyday lives, so why not make the commitment to making the time for it now that you are on vacation. If you are new to it, download an app (I like insight timer – they have short and longer guided ones too), commit to 5-15 minutes and do it whenever you can. Feel the benefits and see if it’s something you want to bring in to your life back home.

And don’t forget to bring some of these essentials…

  • Dry Brush
  • Hair serum – anti-frizz, hydrating
  • Face mask – I like this cacao banana one.
  • Hydrating face mist – to freshen up mid-day. I’ve been using this one.
  • Books – lots! Some I brought with me were Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic”, Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and Gabrielle Bernstein’s “Spirit Junkie”.
  • Diary / Scrap book
  • Earphones – for those long beach walks
  • Goggles – in case you want to do laps
  • Lavender oil – to induce calm/sleep
  • Water bottle – refill and carry with you

Tips to have you feeling better Post Travel

There’s a lot of information out there nowadays on how to prepare for healthy travel, snacks to pack for the plane, what to do and what to do on board to avoid jet lag etc. but there seems to be very little on how to settle back into the swing of things post travel. After a flight we are dehydrated, our appetite is haywire, our body confused, our circadian rhythm is off, our bowel movements may be on hold, and yet we have to be up and at em to tack a to-do list as long as our arm! So, how are we supposed to do it all when all we want to do is lay down? Here’s what I find helpful to get me feeling better in no time.

Water – 3L! The first thing I did when I got home was guzzle 500ml of water when I walked in the front door. I continued to drink water, infusions and herbal tea all day (ginger and peppermint tea are great for digestion).

Lemon water – if you get back first thing, a good idea is to get back into the routine of starting the day with warm lemon water. Add a pinch of ground cayenne or turmeric or some fresh grated ginger to pep things up. I’ve also decided to switch things up with grapefruit from time to time which has a similar effect.

Chlorophyll – I also like to add 15ml of chlorophyll to a few glasses of water throughout the day. Chlorophyll promotes cleansing, alkalises the body, energises us and fights free radicals (antioxidant properties).

Dry brush – I’ll admit, the first thing I do is take a shower. I am in no mood to dry brush that musty feeling of airplane all over my skin! However after my first quick shower, I then apply oil to my hair (see below) and unpack/organise for 1-2 hours. THEN I dry brush before showering again to deal with that oil….

Coconut oil for hair – Planes not only dehydrate your body and skin, but they also leave your hair dry and brittle. Apply coconut oil to your hair, starting from the scalp and combing with your fingers toward the ends. Don’t forget to massage the roots to promote healthy hair growth. After 1-2 hours (or as long as you like), wash it out, making sure to double shampoo and then condition. Afterward, if you have one, use a split end/dry hair serum whilst hair is still damp.

Unpack – As tempting as it is, don’t leave this for the next day when you likely have to go back to work! It’s just another thing on your to-do list and will only clutter your space and make you feel messy. Get it done early, while you are oiling your hair, and get organised!

Walk – even if just for 30 minutes. Get outside, breathe the fresh air in. Natural light will help optimise melatonin production, managing your circadian rhythm to regulate sleep patterns.

Raw fruit & veg – hydration, hydration! This cuts out the processed foods which can clog up your system and has you gorging on delicious wholefoods which are nutrient dense, alkalising and extremely hydrating. I snacked on fresh berries for a hydrating antioxidant hit, and had lots of raw salad and a smoothie throughout the day.

Supplement regimen – I’m generally a little slack with this while I am away so if you take supplements, now is the time to get back into the habit of having them at the right times during the day.

Moisturise – After your shower, or if you are like me, when you get into bed that night. Our skin is very dehydrated remember from air travel and airports, so lather it on!

Yoga – If you have time, take a class otherwise simply stretch it out on the floor. Downward dog, Reverse Warrior, Triangle, Butterfly, Pigeon, Bridge, and a Supine twist are all great poses. These will stretch out stiff muscles and bring you a sense of calm.

Bedtime – not too early, try to get used to your home timezone, however you want at least a full 8 hours before you have to wake up the next day. I was sleeping like a baby on vacation (sometimes 10 hours!) so this is something I want to prioritise. More sleep! We all need it. See my jet lag tips here.

SIGN UP TO THE HEALTH & BLOOM NEWSLETTER