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A Vegan-Foodie’s Guide to Noosa

We just love Noosa – we can’t visit often enough! It’s got the most beautiful main beach, some cute pockets of smaller beaches, farmers markets galore, a laid-back, healthy and happy vibe and definitely some cafe’s to hop to and fro. But I will say, not sooo many vegan options unfortunately… yet. My best recommendation is to book that nice restaurant anyway, call ahead, and let them know you’re coming and would just love a plant-based dish. Most will be happy to accommodate given adequate notice! As for this list, here are some great daytime cafes in and around Noosa to check out on your next stay…

Noosa Health Bar Acai bowls – Definitely the best Acai we found!

Blended coffee – We love the coffee here, but prefer the Acai from the health bar above…

Elixiba – Maroochydore – Not in the heart of Noosa, but definitely worth the visit every single time. They have it all! 100% plant-based healthy food, treat foods, cocktails, mocktails and elixrs. Divine.

Sunspace – an Organic cafe that serves breakfast and lunch and dinner, not too far out of Noosa! Gorgeous Vibe.

Cafe Nurcha – Maroochydore – great stop to make from the airport. Well worth the detour! It is 100% vegan with smoothies, burgers, pizza, tacos, salads, desserts… and a great health food supermarket and crystal shop attached.

New Earth Cafe – Coolum – I’ve been here numerous times, and not one dish or dessert has dissapointed. Come hungry and leave content!

 

FIVE SURPRISING VEGAN SOURCES OF PROTEIN

Article recently contributed to Rescu.com.au.

Protein is an important macronutrient found within every cell in the body. When we consume it in food, it is utilised by our bodies to repair and rebuild the tissues of our muscles, skin and organs. Yet despite the popular idea that “we always need more protein”, protein is actually very misunderstood. Unfortunately, society has been conditioned to view plant protein as inferior to meat protein. Further, many believe more is a case of better when it comes to protein intake. These notions couldn’t be further from the truth….

Read More here.

Skincare – My Wedding Prep Routine

As most of you know, my wedding was about a month ago, and I am finally finding the time to sit down and put together all of my prepratory tips and routines I followed in the lead up to the big, incredible day!

First up is skin, because let’s face it, nothing makes you feel more confident than good skin!

I get a lot of questions on skin, tonnes! I am really fortunate to have good skin at this point in my life, but trust me, this has definitely not always been the case for me. In fact, one of the main giveaways that I had PCOS when I was young was my consistent break outs forcing my mum to take me to a dermatologist who suggested I get checked for PCOS. As such, I have always been intrigued by skincare regimens and have tried everything under the sun – much like diets, noticing a trend here?!

Of course, as a nutritionist, I am the first to acknowledge that good skin comes from within, that our outter appearance is a strong indication of what is going on internally. Getting on top of my hormonal health with dietary changes significantly cleared up my skin in my teens, but the biggest shift I saw in my skin was when I went vegan. It appeared smoother and more radiant within 6-9 months. In the lead up to the wedding, I further altered my diet and supplements which I will share on here later… For now, I really want to focus on topical skincare because I think this routine really stepped up my game! I am definitley planning to keep up the at home stuff post wedding too, as I really enjoy the extra 5 mins it took morning and night. It can truly become a mindfulness/self-care practice.

Firstly, I want to disclaimer this by giving a bit of back story: I had tried Eminence many years ago and really liked it, but having no real appreciation for organic, natural skincare, I didn’t realise how incredible it was and carried on using pharmacy brands. As I cleaned up my diet and lifestyle, I did switch to very, very natural products, some worked for a little bit, some didn’t, but slowly, I began to realise that apple cider vinegar as a toner and coconut oil as a moisturiser etc didn’t work for me. I felt my skin was congested and lacklustre. So under the recommendation of a skin therapist I gave Eminence another go, properly this time i.e. a proper am and pm routine. From there, I was hooked. I was so impressed with the ingredients list, the philosophy and most importantly, the results and how it made my skin feel instantaneously, I contacted them. I had the good fortune of being able to sample many of their products to find the one’s that were right for me. Other than receiving products, this review is not paid and is entirely my opinion and true experience with the brand.

Eminence uses only the healthiest, organic, premium ingredients grown in Hungary (fun fact: I am half Hungarian!). They skip all the harmful chemicals and additivies in favour of embracing the natural potential of plants for lasting, clear, balanced, revitalised, glowing results. Note, the entire range is not 100% vegan (though they do not test on animals at all), All the products I chose are vegan, and if you go to the website there is a good guide to what is and isn’t vegan-friendly.

I love Eminence because of their utilisation of incredibly beautiful and beautifying plant ingredients that make your skin feel and look amazing instantly. The products are so luxurious, simply by harnessing the beauty of nature. They have a strong commitment to environmentally-sustainable practices across their entire business, which is important to me, are organic, offer a range of different targetted products so you are bound to find the ones right for you, and are extremely transparent in all that they do. They look fantastic, smell out of this world, and feel divine. What’s more, they work! You really do get the results!

Honestly, within a week of adopting a proper am and pm routine, I noticed positive skin changes myself. I started to get comments after about two months. Keeping up my regular monthly facials at a salon that used Eminence, coupled with red light therapy sky-rocketed those results and had me feeling radiant for the big day 🙂

What I used:

Blueberry soy exfoliating cleanser – massaged well into my skin for 60 seconds am and pm. It is not beaded or harsh, but feels just like a cream cleanser. I then used a warm muslin cloth to gently wash it off.

Neroli Age Protective Hydrating Mist spritzed onto my face am and pm to prepare my skin for serums. I keep this in the fridge and love, love, love it! If I pass the fridge I will just mist myself with it whenever I can! I decanted this into a smaller spray bottle to take with me on the plane and I used it every hour haha, Mike was so embarrassed!

Bamboo firming fluid  – as a serum, underneath my moisturiser during the day. I would massage my face with this for a good minute or two to boost circulation! Always leave in for 1 minute before applying moisturiser.

Hibiscus Ultra Lift Eye Cream – love this because it has a super cool roller which de-puffs and massages the delicate under eye area. I use this  during the day, visible difference!

Red Currant Protective Moisturiser – as my daytime moisturiser with SPF.

Bright skin licorice Root Booster-Serum – underneath my night cream at night, great for pigmentation (I would put some on my arms too!), also massaged in well for lymphatic drainage. Always leave in for 1 minute before applying moisturiser.

Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum dabbed onto my under eye area each night, always motioning upward.

Arctic Berry Peptide Radiance Cream – used as a night cream.

Arctic Berry Peel and Peptide Illuminating Systemthis is amazing and I would do this once a week for an at home facial! The Arctic Berry Peptide Radiance Cream moisturiser (3rd step) is seriously divine, and I would definitely recommend buying it as it’s own product for a delicious night cream if you don’t want the whole package.

Coconut Firming Body Lotion – I have a bit of Keratosis Pilaris from time to time on my arms, also significantly decreased when I went vegan to be honest, but I felt like this lotion really calmed it down even further, and made the skin tone on my arms (a little sun-damaged) appear more even and smooth. I love this lotion! Smells heavenly.

NOTE: as I was flying overseas for my wedding, I tranferred my products into smalle containers for in-flight, which I highly recommend to all you destination brides or frequent travellers! The mist, a rosehip oil and a thick hydrating mask/moisturiser were invaluable. I really didn’t feel dry or dehyrated post flight. I also drank a tonne of water and skipped the celebratory vino.

As you can see, it’s not a short list, but these products last forever! Especially as a little goes a long way. I also made use of other methods such as facial massage, using my jade roller (on plane as well), warm muslin cloths to infuse the cleanser in and gently wash off, and of course, a healthy diet with plenty of water and hydrating, alkalising foods. I tried a lot of other products and these are my final contendors and what I used consistently in the months leading up to what was easily the best time of my life 🙂 My skin has never felt better.

I recommend finding a therapist that works with Eminence products because they train their suppliers really thoroughly and that way they can recommend what your skin needs, as well as treat you with the best of the best. I also added on light therapy to my treatments. Monthly facials, good at home products and routines and a clean diet will have you looking wedding ready, year round.

 

I hope this was helpful! Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions <3

I’ll be back to chat more about wedding prep and wedding celebrations soon!

Love & health,

Sami

x

 

 

 

CRYOTHERAPY, FLOATING & COMPRESSION THERAPY: KOA RECOVERY

Recently,I was fortunate enough to visit Koa Recovery, a beautiful and intriguing wellbeing clinic located in Waterloo, Sydney. It’s not simply your typical, massage, facial, sauna space, but rather a place you can freeze, get squeezed, and float! Among many other therapies. The space is fresh and uplifting and the staff are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable – which is great, because I had 100s of questions! Whilst I was there, I tried three therapies, Cryotherapy, NormaTec Compression Therapy and the Float Tank. Here is a little about each:

Cryotherapy is a treatment whereby skin is exposed to temperatures below zero for up to 3 minutes! Sounds extreme, I know, so why would one do this? Having always wanted to try cryotherapy since hearing about it, and reading of the benefits of cold exposure from the likes of Whim Hoff, I was pretty excited to give it a go. Cryo has a host of benefits including improved oxygen and nutrient circulation, increased collagen production and metabolism boosting (you burn 800 calories from just this 3 mins of exposure!). More than that, it actually is a powerful healing mechanism for injuries as well as general athletic recovery. It promotes pain reduction and your bodies anti-inflammatory responses, whilst helping to flush toxins from the skin, muscle tissue and joints. Worthwhile for such a short time-frame of shivering! I was petrified at first, as I am very cold sensitive, but the fact that Shaun talked me through it, and that you keep your head out of the cold made it manageable. The feeling once you walk out (robed) is unlike anything else. My skin was tingly, my body felt invigorated yet relaxed, and pain was already minimised.

NormaTec Compression Therapy is basically inflatable boots you put on, all the way up your legs, and sit there as they tighten and loosen around you in a very soothing rhythm. No pain is experience, rather increased and decreased pressure. It’s sort of like a limb massage, and is used to reduce muscle soreness, speed recovery time, assist lymphatic drainage (note, you might need to pee right after!) and reduce fluid retention. I didn’t expect much from this but actually really loved it! I get very sore legs and I felt extremely light afterward.

The float tank is the ultimate in relaxation. I highly recommend booking this for the end of your treatments. You will literally float out of there! The floating takes place in luxurious, soundproof pods filled with magnesium rich water filled with 100% naturally mined, pharmaceutical grade, therapeutic epsom salts. There is so much salt in there, the moment you lay back you feel your weight carried by the water. Not only is magnesium beneficial to muscle recovery, the simple act of floating, feeling weightless and the mineral-rich salts, makes this a number one stress relieving activity, in my opinion. Definitely succumb to the urge to snooze!

All in all, I loved my experience at Koa, and although a pricey activity, I think I could definitely reward myself with it from time-to-time. If you are suffering from a chronic injury or condition (there is some evidence around cryotherapy for autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and MS), it is definitely worthwhile exploring regularly.

I hope you found this post helpful, please let me know if you have any questions I haven’t covered. And let me know what you think of any of these treatments if you’ve tried them yourself?!

In health,

Sami

xx

3 Ayurvedic practices I am making a habit of

Dinacharya – “Dina” meaning day and “Charya” meaning activity – refers to the Ayurvedic daily routine that is encouraged to reduce stress, improve digestion and prevent chronic disease. Many of the practices are applicable to the morning time to set up the day with balance, cleanliness of mind and body and ease.

There are some elements that I, and perhaps you, might already be performing… Early rising, engaging in exercise and/or meditation, brushing teeth, showering, warm lemon water, eating a healthy breakfast… So without necessarily being aware of it, you might already be partaking in Dinacharya! However strictly and traditionally, it is quite a process! Whilst I respect it, I definitely don’t stick to the letter of it.

After some recent reading, I have decided to make more of an effort to incorporate three aspects of Dinacharya into my already established routine. I feel these are easy to implement and believe they will boost my day and improve overall wellbeing. Join me!

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Tongue Scraping

This simple practice removes bacteria and toxins accumulated overnight, whilst also stimulating and cleansing the digestive tract and vital organs (different points of the tongue are said to relate to specific organs). From my research, this should be the first step in your oral hygiene routine. So whether you brush, gargle or floss, scrape your tongue first – 7-10 brisk strokes should do the trick, and wash off excess where necessary between scrapes. Don’t be too vigorous, it should not hurt. Once done, brush your teeth and then enjoy your warm lemon water.

Oil Swishing

This practice is believed to strengthen the teeth, gums and jaw. It also shows some promise in gingivitis and plaque build-up prevention and overall oral health. You may have heard of oil pulling. I originally shied away from this practice, placing it in the “too hard” basket…. The idea of swishing oil in my mouth for upward of 15 minutes seemed ludicrous to me! Who has that time? However, my reading has revealed that traditionally, this practice need not be so indulgent, 1-3 minutes will do the trick. Yay! Once you have had your warm lemon, place about 1 tbsp of oil (preferably warmed, unrefined, organic and cold-pressed sesame or coconut oil) into your mouth, swish for a minute or two, spit out (do not swallow!), and before rinsing use your finger to massage your gums softly to increase circulation. Tip: to warm the oil I recommend using a small container filled with 1 tbsp of the oil, secured tightly and placed in warm water for a minute, perhaps whilst you drink your lemon water. Confession: I only do this 3-5 times a week, do it when you remember/have time, I think this is good enough!

Abhyanga

This is an ancient practice of oily self-massage, said to nourish the skin, promote good circulation, lubricate tissues, optimise detoxification and soothe the nervous system. Before you shower, perhaps after exercise, warm about 1/4 cup unrefined organic sesame, almond or coconut oil, by placing it in a hot bowl (you can add essential oils to the base oil as well). Then, massage your entire body, starting from the head. Pay particular attention to the soles of your feet, your ears, nail beds and the scalp. If you don’t want to wash your hair, choose to forgo the oil here and use dry hands to give yourself a scalp massage (great for stimulating the hair follicles and promoting growth!). See a good tutorial here. If you don’t have time for the full body massage, at least massage your hands, feet, and neck, as these are said to be major stress points and benefit most from stimulation. Wait at least 10 minutes before washing off oil. You could oil swish whilst you wait, tidy up or prepare breakfast or dinner (being careful with your oily feet!), meditate… Then, enjoy a warm shower, the heat of which will allow the oil to penetrate the skin, nourishing and strengthening the connective tissue. Bonus points to turn the tap to cold for 10 seconds at the end of your shower, then hot, then cold! Always finish on cold. This is great for circulation. Morning is believed to be ideal for Abhyanga, but it can also be done in the evening, choose when suits you best. Tip: try using a dry brush on your body before Abhyanga!

4 pre-prepped breakfast ideas for those rushed mornings

Every meal is equally important, so you can forget that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” mantra that has become so popular. Proper fuel is required throughout the day to keep you energised and nourished, however studies show that those who skip breakfast tend to form other poor eating habits, and are more likely to have difficulty loosing or maintaining a healthy weight. Breakfast is also extremely important for those of you who are active in the mornings. Our cortisol levels are highest in the morning, and can be even more so after strenuous exercise, so proper nourishment is crucial at this time, particularly for already-stressed individuals (often the ones to pass on breakfast, unfortunately). Often when we try to fit a lot in before we head out the door, we are quick to let our breakfast game slip in the name of “saving time”. Let this not be the case with these four simple brekky ideas you can pre-prepare and rotate throughout your week (or simply stick to one!). In fact, if you are a chronic breakfast skipper, I want you to commit to breakfast every day this week. After the 7 days, assess your energy levels, digestion and appetite (particularly toward the end of the day). I am confident you will notice positive changes!

Easy Oat Breakfast Muffin

Serves 1

  • 1/2-2/3 cup liquid (water/plant milk or ½ and ½ combo)

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1 tbsp protein powder

  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds

  • 1 tbsp xylitol

  • ½ banana

  • Small handful berries of choice

  • 1 tsp tahini or almond butter

  • ½ tsp baking powder

  • Optional: pinch of sea salt, ½ tsp vanilla, ½ tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 170 C fan-forced.

Blend all ingredients (except berries and tahini) together in a blender.

Grease a small-medium ramekin with coconut oil.

Scoop out with a spatula and fill the ramekin up halfway. Sprinkle with berries and a drizzle of tahini.

Pile the other half of the batter on top add another berry or two for decoration (optional) and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

If not eating immediately, store in the refrigerator. Make one or several, to keep in the fridge for the week!

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Crunchy Coconut Chia Pudding

Serves 1

  1. Place all dry ingredients into a tupperware or jar and mix to combine.

  2. Pour nut milk and maple syrup in, and stir well.

  3. Cover and allow to soak in the fridge overnight or for several hours (until it forms a pudding-like texture).

  4. Once ready, add fresh fruit and head out the door!

Basic Bircher

Serves 1

  1. Soak all ingredients overnight in a jar or tupperware.

  2. Stir well before consuming. Feel free to add fresh berries and/or cinnamon.

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Sunshine Smoothie

Serves 1

  • 1 cup coconut water

  • 1 banana

  • ½ cup frozen mango

  • 1 large handful fresh spinach

  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds

  • 2 cm sliced ginger (optional)

  • 2-3 tbsp granola (for serving, optional)

  1. Blend all ingredients together the night before.

  2. Place in a large jar in the fridge, and take with you the following morning.

  3. Sprinkle with granola when consuming, if desired.

Health Foodie Guide to NYC

Many of you may not actually know this, but I used to live in New York. Back then, I was a very different person, excited by very different things (insert martini and dance emoji)! Nevertheless, NYC holds a very special place in my heart for two reasons: firstly, it was my dream to live there and I got to do it with my incredible best friend, so I have 1000s of fond memories made there! Secondly, my brother and his wife (and baby-on-the-way) still live there, so I get to go back often. Now, I have a third reason to add to the list, my oldest brother just got married there… So, you could say the love of NYC runs in the family!

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(My brother and I mins before he walked down the aisle)

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(My brothers wives, my sisters!)

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(The beautiful Bride and Bloom ;))

Which was the reason for my most recent visited… Having not been back since I really changed my life around, this time, I wasn’t looking for exotic cocktail lists or the best NY slice… it was all about the plant-based, healthy dining scene. And let me tell you, what a scene it is! I literally did not have enough meals in the day to keep up with extensive list I had been recommended and had researched. New York is bursting with trendy health hubs! So here is my must-see list that I have compiled, with a few on there that I didn’t quite get to myself (for you locals or those with more time)…

Happy travels!

To Dine in:

Blossom – I was so pleasantly surprised here, we had such an interesting and mouth-watering spread for lunch – vegan caesar salad, mushroom “scallops”, “fish cakes”…

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Avant Garden – upscale but not overly fancy, best to make a reservation. Insane plant-centered meals that make veggies the star of the show!

ABCV or ABC Kitchen – I have been to ABC kitchen previously, but this time had to try their vegetarian version, ABCV. I love the vibe, and the menu was interesting. I only made it to breakfast (I recommend the mango smoothie bowl) but I think lunch would be more impressive!

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The Butcher’s Daughter (below) – go here for those vegan pastrami sandwiches / cheese toasties you likely have to (or want to) skip whilst visiting NYC. This place makes them vegan-ized, healthy and so tasty! The toasty is insane. I also really enjoyed the adzuki bean bacon 🙂

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Inday – this place is literally bowls of heaven! Cute bowsl, cute drinks, cute vibe. Not 100% vegan but tonnes of options! So healthy!

Sun in Bloom – it can be difficult to source savoury plant-based options… this is a great spot for a vegan breakfast/lunch if you are in search of one in Brooklyn. You can have lunch for brekky too, so I tried their collard wrap burrito, definitely add avo! Their tofu scramble was also very tasty. I don’t recommend their acai smoothie though :

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Cafe Clover – I didn’t get here, but my brother recommends it for a nice evening out. Looks really interesting and has a few veg options.

Westville – an old favourite of mine I used to go here a lot, even when I was less health-conscious. I couln’t go past “market plate” whereby you can choose 4 sides and turn it into a divine, veg-filled plate!

Urban Vegan Kitchen – didn’t make it here but looks like my kinda place!

Souen- organic, macrobiotic restaurant that serves up delicious Asian-inspired dishes. Easy, well-priced, bursting with flavour.

Hearth – we had a big family dinner here and they had several vegan options for us! Great for large groups or a night out. Lots of veg!

Double Zero – no need to miss/crave cheese on a pizza when the toppings are this tasty! Cool vibe, would be great for a date night and a drink of vino too.

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On the fly:

Pressed Juicery – not only good for a quick juice fix but also for all fruit soft serve with the best toppings like raw nuts, vegan choc chips, nut butter etc.

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Juice Generation – In Equinox, good for a post-workout juice or smoothie.

Liquiteria – I was a little underwhelmed with their acai just FYI, but its a good go-to if you can’t find anything healthy as there are a few around and you can bet you can get a greens fix!

Sweet Greens – I didn’t get here, but hear it is a salad bar dream!

By Chloe – healthy-ish fast food! Hehe, it makes plant-based eating enticing for the masses. We had an insane creamy green smoothie and a small mac n cheese with mushroom bacon to share… delish!

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Taim – yummy, different flavoured falafel pockets! Great after a busy day shopping in Soho 🙂

Orchard Grocer – Reallllllyyyy wanted to go here. Please tell me if you do! They have vegan cream cheese and lox… need I say more?

Beyond Sushi – all vegan sushi! Exotic & interesting combos for all you plant-based sushi lovers who are perhaps a little over avo and cucumber… amiright?!

Screamers Pizza – Didn’t make it here, but feel like it is a take on NYC slice (whereas Double Zero is a little more “fancy pizza”). Would love to try it!

Erin McKenna’s bakery – all vegan baked treats, missed this one, tell me if you go!

Union Square Markets vegan bakery stall – Ahhh so many options! I got a delicious corn bread scroll at the recommendation of the stall holder, it was yum!

To workout:

Soul Cycle – the vibe here is insane, I hate spin but I loved this class! Wish I could go back for more.

Laughing Lotus – Gorgeous yoga studio with great teachers

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Strala Yoga – Try make a class with Tara! So much fun

Equinox – All your gyming needs 🙂

The Truth Behind Osteoporosis (and some exiting new research on how nutrition and exercise can prevent it!)

Arthritis is a pain, isn’t it? Being a clinical sports physiotherapist one of the regular findings we see in the clinic is people suffering from osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, most people are clueless as to what it is and how it occurs.

There are no more great wife’s tales out there than ones that surround arthritis. Most of the time it usually involves your great gran who did back breaking work their whole life lifting hay bales, and thus has a degenerated spine. Or your uncle (who you never see) who has a dodgy knee from his years dominating local footy.

These stories are generally powerful in that they are emotive and capture our imagination. But they lead to harmful myths such as ‘bending your back is bad’ or that ‘playing sport will always leads to arthritis’. They create misconceptions that can last multiple generations as the story is passed down from one member to the next. However, science is now confirming they are just misconceptions, not reality.

Now before I go on I can hear you yelling saying ‘well my gran has a does have bad back for that very reason!’ To make my argument more convincing, you must remember all the rest. All the rest who did the same hard labour well in to their later years, and have fabulous health and a strong spine. Or all the rest that played footy into their forties and can still run around the tan with no problems.

The better question to ask is if it were general overuse that causes arthritis, why doesn’t everybody have it?

To answer this, we must first understand what arthritis is. The technical way to explain osteoarthritis is degeneration of the surfaces between the joints, leading to pain and difficulty moving.

The non-technical way to explain it is wear and tear. The cartilage is the tissue that helps the bones roll and slide on top of each other. It allows for a smooth glide, but in arthritic cartilage the joint finds it difficult to bend. This can lead to rubbing, swelling, and pain.

Now I am sure we all know someone, or ARE someone, who suffers from osteoarthritis. It can be debilitating at times – with stiff, sore and puffy joints being the hallmark. It stops people doing the things they love, like going for a run through the park or getting on the floor to play with the grandkids, and reduces your quality of life.

In recent years’ science, has gone leaps and bounds into understanding what is happening, with 2 very important papers being released that must be discussed.

The first was a landmark study by Vanwanseele et al 2002. They showed significant thinning of cartilage in people with spinal cord injury. They found that it is actually parts of the cartilage that are NOT being compressed that start to break down. It is because pressure or load, helps to squeeze nutrients into the cartilage to keep it healthy.

It is the opposite to what most people believe. We need healthy load and movement to keep it strong. It is when people stop moving or the joint is in the wrong alignment that we see cartilage degradation. Now being overweight or doing high impact activities without sufficient strength can add to this, so they must be addressed. But staying active and strong are your best weapons.

The second was as recently as May of this year. In this paper titled The role of metabolism in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritisNature Reviews Rheumatology, 2017, the researchers found the biggest single influence on the cartilage was diet and our metabolism.

They found that like everything in our body, the cartilage requires a nutrient dense diet to remain healthy and viable as we age. It stops the cells from breaking down, and as described above they respond positively to loading and stress, which actually keeps it strong and healthy.

Most people are under the impression that arthritis occurs because we have overworked a joint. Therefore, they are under the impression they need to stop moving when they have arthritis. As you can see, this is not the case.

The 3 most important things you can do are if you suffer from arthritis:

  • Eat a nutrient dense diet, full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This will also help to keep you in a healthy weight range
  • Keep moving and gently progressively loading the joint in a minimally painful way. Examples of this are gentle walking, Pilates or swimming
  • Maintaining as much muscular strength around the joint as possible, by doing resistance based exercises

 

Chris Jellis is a physiotherapist and director of Sum Of Us. SUM is a health and wellness studio in Prahran that combines the science of modern physiotherapy and health care, in a nourishing holistic environmentwww.sumofusstudio.com.au 

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Why you may be getting bloated after a healthy, “clean” meal….

I’m still bloated, and I have cut out dairy, gluten, wheat and refined sugar… now what?” Words I hear often. There are so many things at play when it comes to our complicated but wonderful digestive system. I recommend keeping a symptoms diary for at least two weeks if bloating is a serious concern, noting what you eat and when you become bloated (take strict note of the time between food consumption and onset of symptoms). This is important to not only identify what triggers you, but which part of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) requires attention. You will likely need to provide this information to a qualified nutritionist or naturopath to really understand your digestive issues. However, first, take the below points into consideration and give a few of the tips a go! You might surprise yourself with how easy it is to fix up those bloating woes with just a few simple tweaks 🙂

  1. You might be eating too fast and not be chewing enough – there are no more teeth past the mouth! We must chew, chew, chew to not only break down our food so it can fit through our GIT, but also to wake up those ever important digestive enzymes that actually begin digestion. Without these in full swing, bloating is guaranteed. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway ;)) that this also causes over-eating, another common contributing factor to bloating, discussed below. Tips: Always sit down for your meal/snack and set a timer on your phone for 20 minutes, this is how long you should be eating for! Aim to chew each mouthful 10-20 times. Place knife and fork down between bites. Try to drink water away from meals not with meals, again, so as not to dilute those critical digestive enzymes.

  1. You might be stressed or distracted – when we are distracted or emotionally strained, the digestive system is not at full capacity. This is because it is busy doing other things that seem more pressing at the time. This is also a scenario where you are likely to over-eat and under-chew. Use the tips from above to really slow down and focus on the delicious, abundant, nutritious plate in front of you, and put away your phone! If stress is an issue, take several deep belly breaths before commencing your meal, and channel your energy into honing in on the senses – the sight, smell and taste of your food!

  1. Your stomach acid might be low – whilst we wont our bodies (blood) to be nice and alkaline, our stomach requires a different pH that is actually acidic. Contrary to popular belief, indigestion is usually the result of inadequate stomach acid (hydrochloric acid – HCI), not high! The reason you may experience a burning sensation is because the stomach is sending the food back up as it cannot digest it, bringing with it some of that HCI which whilst not acidic enough, is still acidic when compared to other areas of the body. Interestingly, low stomach acid might not only cause bloating, but also, more acidic blood (not a good thing!). Tips: To increase HCI consume things like lemon water first thing in the morning, and incorporate fermented foods such as saurkraut/kimchi, kefir, unpasturised miso etc. A shot of apple cider vinegar or mixing it in water 15 mins prior to meals should also do the trick!

  1. You have difficulty digesting fats – fats can take a long time to digest. Couple that, with a “sluggish” liver, which is crucial in processing fatty foods (bile production), and you have a recipe for tummy trouble. If your stools are particularly “greasy”, this be indicated. Tips: Try nurturing your liver through consuming things like bitter greens (dandelion leaves, rocket, endive, radicchio) apple cider vinegar and cooked cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts). You could drink some liver-loving teas like dandelion root/leaves, milk thistle or nettle, and drink warm lemon water each morning. Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine, deep-fried food, processed food, artificial sweeteners/flavours and unnecessary medication/supplements.

  1. Portion distortion – perhaps your simply eating too much. Excess food consumption can definitely lead to discomfort, especially if you are eating a variety of foods which require different digestive enzymes to break down (this is a theory, but there is some evidence to suggest this can cause a “traffic jam” in the GIT. Look into “Food Combining” if interested). Tips: You could follow some food combining rules here. One I like to follow is consuming fruit mostly alone, or at least first thing in the morning. Alternatively, smaller meals, more frequently, could help some people really sensitive to larger portions. Eating slowly so you register when you are indeed full is a simple but effective tip. Again, consuming liquids away from meals, particularly large ones, is helpful.

  1. You might have an intolerance to something else, or aren’t reading labels correctly and are accidentally consuming some of the usual culprits – consider allergy/intolerance testing, consulting with a healthcare practitioner.

What I eat in a Day to keep healthy

Everyday superfoods I aim to include…

  • 1 tbsp kimchi (probiotics, gut health)
  • 1-3 tbsp flax (omega 3, blood-sugar stabilising, fibre)
  • 1 tsp dulse flakes or 2 sheets nori (iodine and trace minerals, thyroid and hormone health)
  • 1-3 tbsp nutritional yeast (B-vitamins and amino acids, great for energy)
  • 2-3 Brazil nuts (selenium, important for thyroid amongst many other functions)
  • Greens, cruciferous vegetables, beans/legumes, lemons, parsley, coriander, turmeric, maca, goji berries (antioxidants, fibre, detoxifiers, mineral and vitamin-rich, anti-inflammatory, blood-sugar regulating foods!)

Liquids I choose…

  • Lemon water (stimulates digestion, supports liver)
  • Filtered water with a pinch of celtic/rock salt (enhances of absorption/hydration)
  • ACV in water (improves stomach acid and gut health) – when I remember!
  • Herbal teas- Dandelion, Tulsi, Women’s cycle, chai or soaked goji berries in hot water (stress, hormone and liver helpers)
  • Glass of Kombucha / kefir (gut health) – every second day or so
  • Celery & Beet juice – (liver and circulatory health)
  • Miso soup

6:30am First thing in the morning I have ½ lemon juiced in warm water.

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Breakfast

8-9am: Green Smoothie – find my everyday recipe here. Sometimes, particularly at the moment, I leave out the celery and lemon, and add 1 tbsp ground flax, 2-3 brazil nuts and 1 medjool date to it. It tastes so creamy! I make a herbal tea for right after this to tie me over – often we go back for more not because we need more but because we haven’t allowed our appetite to settle post meal.

Green smoothie heaven ✨ Post a killer barre workout @leanbeanfitness thanks to the gorgeous Lizzie via @classpass You've gotta try it! • By now you know that I like to start each day with a clean green smoothie to fill myself up with fibre & the beautiful vitamins & minerals we get from #raw greens Nothing makes me feel better! Did you know 95% of us don't meet our veg intake, which probably means a similar % don't meet our fibre needs We need fibre for a beautiful healthy body- to stabilise blood sugar & cholesterol & ensure a well-functioning digestive system. Yet we're all so concerned with protein (which hardly anyone is deficient in btw). 95% is staggering! #Fibre is key Try to work out how much fibre you get today & see if you need to up the ante. A smoothie a day will definitely help ☺️ #greensmoothie #healthystart #asmoothieaday

Morning tea

10-11am: Because my breakfast is quite light, I often find I am hungry 1-2 hours later. I like it this way! I personally don’t do well on a heavy breakfast, I feel it slows me down and leaves me feeling less vital. Fruit is easy and quick to digest, so it makes sense I am hungry again. As such, if I am out and about I will bring this bircher muesli: 1/3 cup oats, 1 tbsp flax, 1 tbsp chia, 1 tbsp hemp/pumpkin/sunflower seeds, 3 crushed walnuts, 1 tbsp goji berries soaked in coconut water or nut milk/water + sprinkle cinnamon, and sometimes ¼ cup berries. Alternatively, at home I have 1 x sprouted gluten-free toast w smashed avo, a sprinkle of dulse and nutritional yeast and some sprouts or herbs. If I am not hungry, a herbal tea, nut milk turmeric latte, or glass of homemade coconut Kefir or Kombucha will do me fine!

Activated Omega Pot! A staple in our vegan diet at the moment. Early mornings I like to have a light green smoothie, and then this little pot of goodness for morning tea, gets me through to lunch! It packs a powerful punch with both soluble & insoluble fibre, it's high in both omega 3 & protein (around 17g) Plus when you soak it all overnight it assists #digestion and what's more, the goji go really soft & plump like juicy sultanas ☺️ Except they're much more #nutritious! Just soak 1/3 cup oats in @h2coco coconut water with 1 tbsp of each: chia, ground flax, goji, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds & 4 crushed walnuts & you're ready to go in the am!!! ✨ #plantbased #healthybreakfast

Goji tea - an easy home remedy recommended by my TCM-enthusiast fellow nutritionist & yogi @balancedbymaya Said to be a liver/kidney tonic to help replenish & purify blood for improved circulation, menstrual flow & fertility May be a helpful addition for those with low-iron/anemia. Ideal with Chinese red date too however a little tricky to get your hands on! I just love it because it turns these little #antioxidant powerhouses into juicy plump sultana-like treats that burst in your mouth I added a few sprigs of mint but perfect on its own - 1 tbsp Goji to 1 cup boiling water ❤️ @balancedbymaya full of yummy, natural ideas! This has been an arvo / evening staple for a month now!! #gojitea

Lunch

12:30-1:30pm: I try to have some apple cider vinegar and aloe vera juice in water before my lunch salad. This is consistent, I just rotate my choice of veg and pulses. My guide is: roughly 3 large handfuls of leafy veg (options include: rocket, cabbage, spinach, kale, cos) + sliced salad veggies of choice (tomato, cucumber, capsicum, onion, shallots, carrot, fennel, snow peas etc) + 1/2 cup beans/legumes + 1/2 cup starch (potato, pumpkin, beetroot) + handful cruciferous veg (if I have some roasted up, e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts), 1/4 of a ripe avocado, 1 tbsp fermented veg/kimchi. Herbs and sprouts are great additions if I have any on hand. I toss this all up with lemon juice and apple cider vinegar then sprinkle with 1 tsp dulse, 1-3 tbsp nut yeast, and a pinch of chili flakes and black pepper. Otherwise I use one of my dressings using a combo of lemon, lime, ACV, dijon, tahini, hummus, miso, tamari etc. See my blog! Note, if I have leftovers from dinner I might have this instead, but I do like to get my raw veg in this time of day 🙂

Are all salads created equal? ✨ New blog post is up! ~~~~ 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... Find out why I prefer to skip/skimp on oil in favour of delicious, whole-food ingredients, and learn 7 easy dressings you can shake together in a jar, no fancy equipment required: • Miso Tamari • Lemon Dijon • Lemon Tahini • Nutritious Creamy Citrus • Passion-fruit Lime • Apple Almond • Miso Tahini (my fav at the moment!)

A squeeze of lemon atop your food makes the iron more available, as vitamin C has the ability to increase iron absorption Of course, plants like green leafy vegetables have the miraculous combination of both iron + #vitaminC ... because nature is clever like that but a little extra lemon love boosts it even more!! We should also be careful not to consume tea & coffee around meal time too, which can inhibit iron #absorption. ~~~~ Good sources of #plantbased iron: Lentils, beans, tempeh, quinoa, brown rice, oats, cashews, tahini/sesame, pepitas, sunflower seeds and leafy greens!!

If I am on the run I might grab 2 x brown rice (if possible) avocado and cucumber sushi rolls and a serving of edamame, veg rice paper rolls, a cup of soup from a cafe,or a fresh DIY salad with beans or falafels…

Lunching today at the gorgeous new @thebrunchlady !! DIY salads & the yummiest smoothies- try the Acai!! And definitely get the gluten-free vegan falafels My face says it all

Afternoon tea – note, I don’t always have this, I tune in to my hunger.

3-5pm: A few days a week, I have a “pick me up” smoothie… 1 banana or ½ banana + ½ c berries/unsweetened acai, handful of spinach + 1 tbsp ground flax, 1 tbsp glutamine, 1 tsp maca, 1 tsp bee pollen and sometimes cacao, cinnamon or tahini for flavour. If I am very hungry I will add a scoop of Nuzest vanilla clean lean (pea) protein, or 2 tbsp hemp seeds. Other options I like: carrot + hummus, nori veg rolls, homemade bliss balls, green juice, an apple, miso soup or I will simply choose one of the drinks I mentioned for morning tea if I haven’t already had one and am not too hungry.

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Riceless sushi snack inspo. Including the star of so many of my meals: Sea vegetables ⭐️ ~~~~ Have you started incorporating sea veggies into your meals? I try to include a little each day! They are full of trace minerals that we don't always have plentifully in our land veg, mainly iodine- a very important nutrient for a healthy thyroid. I say a little, however, as too much iodine can be as bad as not enough (note my caveat below with kelp). Here are some great ways to include it: - Chomp on seaweed/nori sheets as a snack. Try find untoasted varieties - "Ricless sushi" #rainbowrolls (pictured): roll veggies, tempeh, avo, dip, kimchi in seaweed - Slice up a nori sheet and throw it into a salad or stir fry - Sprinkle 1-2 tsp dulse flakes into your salads, soups, stir-fries and stews - Try kelp noodles as a pasta/noodle alternative- Note kelp is very very rich in #iodine so should be consumed rarely and sparingly !! - Veg brown rice sushi rolls (good on-the-go option when in the city/shopping centre) - Throw some dulse/nori/arami/wakame in miso soup as a snack ! Love miso

Dinner

6:30-7:30pm: I like to keep it grounding and warming for dinner, even into the summer months. This usually means a cooked dinner, sometimes with a side salad. Good, complex carbohydrates don’t scare me at dinnertime like they used to. My days are designed so that I eat fresh, healthy, wholefoods that are easy to digest, so at night, my body can handle them. There is also research to suggest they help with sleep. Of course, as mentioned, it comes down to the quality i.e. unrefined, complex carbs, paired with plenty of veg. I choose: brown rice or noodle tempeh stir fries, lentil/chickpea curries, veggie-based soups with some grains or beans, split red lentil Dahl with rice, mung bean and brown rice kitchari, bean burger patties atop greens, zucchini or konjac/quinoa pasta with lentil bolognese and greens, mushroom, lentil and brown rice san choy bow… to name just a few of my staples! Basically, I always pair my beans and grains with lots of greens, especially cooked cruciferous veg, and sometimes I have a side salad too. I try to cook with: ginger, turmeric, coriander, parsley, miso, flax and lemon regularly, and use condiments like tahini, tamari/coconut aminos, vegetable broth and organic canned tomatoes or coconut milk. I use minimal oil in my cooking, just a little coconut oil to pan-fry where needed, or I “steam-fry” my veg with water/broth.

Tonight My lentil Dahl recipe on the blog ✨ With all the fixings.... love adding fresh (very bitter) rocket from the garden to it & purple sweet potato The bitterness is good for digestion Try it this week and let me know what you think!

Miso & sea vegetable soba noodle soup! I like using sea veg where I can, usually dulse flakes in my salads but here I've used the whole leaf plus wakame & nori too! Sea vegetables are a wonderful way to get a wide variety of beneficial vitamins & minerals into your diet, especially as our soils become more & more depleted. Not just iodine (which is important for healthy thyroid function) but also Bs, zinc, potassium magnesium & iron I basically whisked miso paste into warm water and allowed the sea veg to soak in it as I lightly cooked it on the stove, before adding the steamed broccoli & zucchini, stir-fried mushrooms & silverbeet, & cooked 100% buckwheat soba (careful, some varieties include wheat). Combined it all together with a few drops of tamari. Very quick nutritious dinner. Chilli optional but recommended! I love Asian-inspired dinners!

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Dessert

8-9pm: Most nights 🙂 I try to keep this the latest I put anything in to my body, even herbal tea! I don’t want to be running to the bathroom in the middle of the night! My favourite choice is a warm milky drink, as this is both sweet and comforting, perfect for this time of day. Cacao, turmeric or a chai latte, made stove-top with almond milk and stevia are my choices. Alternatively, 1-2 dates with a few raw nuts, or a few squares of dairy-free dark chocolate (probably choose this twice a week, the rest I have my latte/tea). Weekends might be a trip to a vegan gelato bar or enjoying a vegan treat I have made or bought 🙂 Alcohol is not a big part of my life, but if I have a glass or two I avoid “binging” like I did in my early 20s, and enjoy it for special occasions. A dirty martini is my go-to, I promise you will drink it slow!!

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Made a batch of Choc Mint Slices for a housewarming dinner tonight My girls can be the taste testers Almond, buckwheat & coconut base + avocado, fresh #mint centre + cacao @h2coco oil layer on top! As if it wasn't healthy enough I also snuck a healthy booster into the middle- @grassesoflife superbiotic greens powder! Jam-packed with barley grass, alfalfa, chlorophyll, spirulina, probiotics, kelp....... Soo this is basically a salad, right ? Stay tuned for the recipe ✨ #vegan #glutenfree #chocmintslice #cleantreat

4 ways with Tempeh

The beauty of tempeh is how easy it is to cook. Yet, I meet so many people afraid to give it a go! It has actually already been fermented, and thus, partly cooked, so unlike chicken, you really can’t undercook it.

Firstly, I have spoken about this before, but let’s reiterate that there is no good evidence suggesting traditional soy-foods like tempeh are detrimental to your health and should therefore be avoided. Tempeh is a healthful source of protein. Tempeh is made using the entire soybean, but it is fermented, making tempeh more easily digested and “antimutagenic” than unfermented beans, as well as making it a great source of vitamin K2 (bone, heart, brain and cancer protective nutrient).

Secondly, it is important to source non-GMO and organic varieties of tempeh. In Australia, Woolworths stocks Nutri-Soy, my go-to. I buy the unflavoured one to avoid cheap soy-sauces and other additives. Stick to the plain like me, and make your own flavours with the below suggestions.

Quick guide. Choose your tempeh variety by comparing it to meat options…

Pan-fried – chicken/fish replacement

Marinated – steak replacement

Ground – mince replacement

Crusted – schnitzel replacement

Using 1 x 300g packet of tempeh….

SIMPLE PAN-FRIED TEMPEH

½ tsp coconut oil, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 tbsp tamari OR 1 tsp curry powder. Allow the garlic to heat for 3 mins before adding slices of tempeh. Cook first side for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, cover with tamari or spices, flip and cook the second side for a further 3 minutes. Serve with vegetables for a veggie stir-fry.

JUICY MARINATED TEMPEH STEAK

Boil tempeh whole for 30 minutes. Remove from pot and then marinate in 3 tbsp tamari, ½ lemon juice, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 tsp dried for 1-3 hours. Once ready, fry whole 5 minutes each side. Slice into 4 servings and serve over veggies.

GROUND TEMPEH

Grind the tempeh by pulsing it in thirds in a food processor until it resembles mince. Then heat up your stove with a little coconut oil, just to coat, throw the tempeh mince in and pan fry with the following spices and condiments…

Mexican-inspired: ½ chopped brown onion, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1-2 tsp of spices like cumin, paprika, cajun, chili or a Mexican spice blend. Allow the onion and garlic to brown before adding the tempeh and spices. Pan-fry for 6 mins whilst stirring occasionally. Pair with brown rice and black beans.

Italian: ½ chopped brown onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 can organic diced tomatoes, 1 tsp dried Italian herbs or oregano, handful fresh chopped basil. Allow the onion and garlic to brown before adding the tempeh and spices. Pan-fry for 4 mins whilst stirring occasionally. Then add the diced tomatoes and pan-fry for a further 4 minutes. Lastly, add the basil, stir, remove from heat and serve over grains, roast veggies or pasta.

SESAME-CRUSTED TEMPEH

Preheat oven to 200 C. Prepare your “sticky” mixture of 1 tbsp flax meal soaked in 3 tbsp coco milk, 1 tsp tamari and ¼ tsp garlic powder. Allow it to soak for at least 10 minutes whilst you prep the rest. Place ¼ cup sesame seeds in a dry wide bowl. Slice the tempeh into thin-medium slices and dip each in the sticky mixture. Place onto a lined baking tray and sprinkle each slice with 1-2tsp sesame seeds. Press down on them with the back of the spoon. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping each after 15 minutes. Optional to sprinkle the other side with more sesame once flipped and before baking for the last 10 minutes.

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.

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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.

 

Healthy Snacks Available at the Supermarket

I thought I would do something a little different for you – I took 20 mins to browse the health food aisle at Woolworths & sourced the best on-the-go snacks on offer I give my tick of approval ✔️ Decent, affordable and accessible snacks that you can reach for when out & about with little time!

 
I tell my clients to find a few favourites – 1-2 sweet, 1-2 savoury, that they can pick up & pop in their bag for later, so that office snacks don’t become tempting These are all around $2-4, gluten-free, vegan, refined-sugar-free & most importantly artificial flavour/preservative and vegetable oil free (which is soo difficult to find! Particularly with dips)… Just FYI the Well Naturally chocolate bar has a little sugar alcohol in it, but total sugar is only 0.6/100g. If you have difficulty digesting sugar alcohols, i.e. follow FODMAPS, avoid, but this is definitely one of the best treat options available, in my opinion.

 
Craving crunch or something salty? Choose the crackers or carrot + dip. A mars bar? Try the sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate. Cake? The Emma & Toms life bar or Soma Bite! Ice cream or a milk shake? Chia pudding w blueberries. Fizzy drinks? Kombucha! Something light? A piece of fruit or cold-pressed green juice. Easy, good-for-you swaps!
I’ll do the same for Coles shortly!!

Healthy Replacements for all your favourites

ELIMINATE: red meat, eggs, dairy, gluten/wheat, refined sugar and caffeine…

For some, these words are absurd. Others, are subtly aware (deep within them) that they were a long time coming. For most, it is completely overwhelming.

When I tell my clients to eliminate certain foods from their diet, it is my priority to replace those foods with healthy alternatives. My goal is to not only offer a more nutritious option, but an item/s that taste similar and/or better, making the transition far easier and less daunting than initially thought.

The truth is, we all love to have our unhealthy habits or choices confirmed – we like to be told that a glass or two of red wine each night is good for us, that “butter is back”, that we need to eat cheese and ice cream because… well, calcium! But the second you start to question that, the overwhelm sets in and cutting out these staples, that so many of us have grown up on, seems unbearable. Impossible. Cruel! Well, I am here to tell you, it isn’t so bad. Here are some suggestions I put forward in my plight to have my clients and readers, not only looking better, but feeling a whole lot more lighter, energetic and clear-headed…

Instead of coffee:

Order an almond or coconut milk chai tea, hold the sugar – ask if they have Natvia instead or carry some in your purse. Extra cinnamon please!

Most cafe’s these days have alternatives like matcha, turmeric, or chai lattes. Swap your regular milk for a plant-based option, and be sure to ask what it is sweetened with. Again, if it is sugar, ask for it unsweetened and add your own BYO Natvia. 

At home, try making my hot cacao, or your own turmeric latte.

Instead of dairy:

Swap dairy milk with plant-based options – almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, oat milk, soy milk (definitely organic and non-GMO). *A note on soy… we are all so quick to dismiss it as having “too much oestrogen”, but may I remind you the biological and often synthetic oestrogen in cows milk, as it comes from a pregnant cow obviously producing her own hormones however additionally often injected with hormones… compared to the natural, weak phytoestrogens found in the soy bean. Just think about that for a moment. Read here for more on soy and oestrogen.*

Cheese – nut-based cheeses, for creamy pasta sauces add coconut milk, pumpkin puree or soaked cashews with nutritional yeast (tastes like cheese and is AMAZING for you), sprinkle nutritional yeast on a salad, instead of adding fetta or goats cheese, add avocado for the same creamy, “fatty” addition, cheese cake can be made with soaked cashews as a base.

Yoghurt – Coconut yoghurt, almond yoghurt – check ingredients for added sugar, cashew or coconut cream.

Also check out my post on going dairy-free, here.

Instead of gluten/wheat:

Grains – Brown, basmati or wild rice, Quinoa, Millet, Amaranth, Teff, Buckwheat;

Bread – Sprouted bread varieties, DIY your own bread, or choose a gluten-free option (check ingredients for eggs if avoiding, sugar, and additives you can’t pronounce);

Crackers – flax crackers, rice crackers, corn or rice thins, buckwheat crackers, seed crackers;

Pasta – Quinoa pasta, rice pasta, Konjac noodles, Zucchini pasta, kelp noodles, 100% buckwheat soba noodles;

Flours – Almond meal, Buckwheat flour, Coconut flour, Teff flour, Chia flour, Banana flour.

Instead of red meat:

Tempeh, lentils, beans, chickpeas, quinoa, rice, portobello mushrooms, stuffed veggies… some meal ideas:

Tempeh stir-fry with or without brown rice; Mixed Bean salad with roast veg + avo; Stuffed sweet potatoes with beans, cashew cheese, guacamole; Quinoa salad with roast veg and roast tamari pumpkin seeds; Stuffed capsicums with rice/teff and lentils; Stuffed mushrooms with quinoa, capsicum and capers, Zucchini pasta with lentil bolognese, Cauliflower rice with chickpeas, almonds and greens, Mushroom and lentil san choy bow, Cauliflower mash with peas and mushroom gravy….

Instead of eggs:

Breakfast options – smoothies, chia pudding, bircher muesli, oat porridge, quinoa porridge, pea protein powders (I like Nuzest), Avocado smash or hummus and mushrooms on gluten-free toast, breakfast salad of quinoa, sauteed greens and mushrooms, roast tomatoes, avocado and pumpkin/sweet potato and pepita’s;

Cooking – flax egg, arrowroot, tapioca flour, chia, chia flour, mashed banana, water or almond milk

Order out – if there is a big vegetarian brekky with eggs, ask for it without eggs but add extra veggies, avocado or sweet potato to bulk it up or opt for the porridge options (there is always is one!) with a dairy-free milk.

Instead of sugary snacks or treats:

All homemade or health-food store bought treats made with stevia/xylitol OR coconut nectar, maple syrup, dates

Bliss balls, DIY muesli bars, DIY granola, Cacao/turmeric lattes (as above), Raw chocolate (In Aus, Pana chocolate is a good brand, Well naturally from Woolies, or see if you can get your hands on BSKT vegan chocolate), or make your own raw choc, Cacao smoothie, Berry smoothie, Chocolate or coconut/berry based chia pudding, Vegan pancakes, Strawberry Chia Jam, Avocado chocolate mousse.

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!

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