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SKIN FOOD: How to eat your way to Healthy, Glowy Skin

Our skin is a powerful indicator of what is going on inside, particularly the liver, blood and colon. It is in fact our largest detoxifying organ. What we feed ourselves gets distributed through our bodies, effecting each and every cell, our organs and their various functions. If what we eat can make us go to the bathroom (or not), keep us trim (or not), boost our energy (or not), you can bet that it also effects every one of our other bodily processes, and skin repair is one of them! Years of consuming artificial ingredients, preservatives, additives, hormones and toxins eventually take their toll, and often the first thing to “go” is keeping our skin “glowy” and our hair shiny because frankly, the body has more important functions to focus on maintaining our beauty! But by making the load easy for the body to bear, it can work on protecting us from the signs of aging, unburdened.

What to avoid:

Dairy is the main culprit here! Dairy is highly acidic and inflammatory to the human body, with little beneficial dietary components – it has no antioxidants to fight free radicals, or fibre to ensure a well functioning digestive tract. Dairy is also pumped with hormones and antibiotics, which not only promote acne but can lead to hormonal imbalances and even antibiotic resistance. Replace dairy with dairy-free alternatives such as nut milk, coconut yoghurt, coconut/almond ice creams, cashew cheese and nutritional yeast. Once you get the hang of it you will find there is something for everything and everyone! See my replacement advice here and here.

Avoid processed, packaged and refined foods, refined sugar, excessive caffeine consumption, alcohol (especially sugary drinks), vegetable oils.

What to include:

Hydrate with 2L of water daily, ensure 8 hours of quality sleep each night, optimise digestion and eat a clean whole-food diet with copious amounts of greens as well as a variety of colourful plant foods, to get adequate fibre, vitamin A, C, E, zinc and omega 3… including (but not limited to) many of those listed below, on a regular basis:

Red capsicum – high antioxidant levels, vibrant red capsicums help to keep your skin healthy and supple. They are a wonderful source of both vitamin C and the mineral silicon, assisting the strengthening and regeneration of collagen, the main structural protein in connective tissue. Healthy collagen production keeps the skin firm and reduces oxidative damage! Skin tip: much on capsicum throughout your day as you would celery or carrot sticks, enjoy it with dip for extra satiety.

Sweet potato – it’s high levels of beta-carotene convert to vitamin A in the body, meaning it provides us with both vitamins A and C, the antioxidants that fight free radicals from damaging our cell tissue, causing premature aging. Skin tip: choose sweet potatoes that have the deepest orange colour, these contain the most carotene!

Cabbage – containing the skin-loving combo of vitamins A, C and E, cabbage is highest in some of the most powerful antioxidants found in cruciferous vegetables. Interestingly, it actually contains more vitamin C than oranges! By now we know that vitamin C is critical when looking to minimise wrinkles, fight inflammation and heal damaged tissue. It’s impressive nutrient content makes it a potent detoxifying food, slowing the aging process.

Lemon – another good source of vitamin C, lemons also support the hard-working liver, our main detoxifying organ. They strengthen liver enzymes and promote the secretion of bile, which in turn aids digestion. A detoxification agent, blood purifier and digestive aid, they are in actual fact alkalising once within the body (despite their acidic taste!). Skin tip: Consume the juice of ½ lemon with a cup of warm water first thing daily to cleanse the body and prepare metabolism, and use lemon throughout your day in salad dressings, stir-fries and smoothies.

Almonds – the monounsaturated fats within almonds help retain moisture within the skin, softening and protecting it. These beautifying nuts are rich in vitamin E, the primary antioxidant in human epidermal tissue. Vitamin E works to protect the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays, whilst also nourishing the skin from within to prevent dryness.

Fermented Vegetables – loaded with probiotics and enzymes, fermented vegetables work on ensuring the gut is a friendly environment for good bacteria to thrive! This helps with digestion and the absorption of all these skin-loving nutrients. Probiotics also work to keep your system free from nasty pathogenic bacteria that cause digestive upset, poor immunity and inflammation, which may lead to skin irritation, acne or dull, unclear skin. Skin tip: don’t be afraid of it, just spoon a few tablespoons on top of a salad, crackers or alongside a meal!

Other foods to include  – all green leafy vegetables, carrots, avocado, berries, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and brazil nuts.

How to add more veggies to your day

Often, we focus on getting in enough protein. We track our intake of fat. Some closely monitor their sugar intake… but is anyone counting their vegetables?! 5 servings a day is a minimum requirement, but frankly, I rarely see clients who meet this conservative amount. We know that the consumption of fruit and vegetables is linked to a reduced likelihood of chronic disease. Fibre, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, water, vitamins and minerals, and even nutrients like omega 3 and protein, yes protein! are in our beloved vegetables. Therefore, for optimum health and in line with using food as preventative medicine, the amount we strive for should be much, much higher. I believe eight servings a day is a better recommendation, with no end in sight! My advice: Eat as many as you can fit in! The below ideas are ways to creatively include veg into your meals, for you or perhaps for fussy kids, to boost the nutrient content, colours, flavours and even texture, and far exceed 5 servings a day…

Smoothies – 1,2,3 even 4 handfuls of greens! When you blend them, they break down and you won’t even notice, especially spinach or cos lettuce.

Aim for 3+ cups with main meals such as salads and stir-fries – leafy greens, a variety of chopped raw salad veggies, and roast veg. Include a combination of all three.

Soups – you can make soups 100% vegetables, from using veggie stock (loaded with nutrients), to chopping veg in or pureeing it. Sometimes I even puree it e.g. cauliflower soup, and then top it with mushrooms, broccoli or sliced zucchini for texture. A cup of veg soup makes a great afternoon snack or dinner starter.

Snack on carrots, capsicums, cucumber, celery – crunchy foods are often more satisfying, aren’t they? Keeping sliced veg sticks handy are a quick go-to snack to enjoy, whilst upping your veggie intake. Pair with dip such as hummus or nut butter for satiation.

Blend them into a dressing – sometimes I throw in capsicum, zucchini, cucumber, beetroot or carrot in a salad dressing with things like tahini or miso. Makes for a beautiful colour and tasty flavours!

Veggie Juice – juice more veg to fruit for a healthy juice combo that is sure to give you an energy boost! Even better – use things you would usually throw out, like celery or beet leaves, where there is actually a substantial amount of nutrition. Throw in lots of lemon and/or some green apple, and you will mask any bitterness.

Grate carrot or zucchini – in your oats +/bircher, blend tomatoes, pumpkin, carrots, zucchini, broccoli in your dips like hummus, try beetroot muffins… easy, delicious and great for variety!

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.

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 🙂

A Vegan-Inspired Christmas Feast

Last year was our first Christmas in our new home. My family is scattered all over the world – Canada, Florida, Melbourne, New York, London… so it was just a small one. Nevertheless, I welcomed the challenge to tackle our first vegan Christmas feast as a family! Whether you choose to abide by a vegan diet, or dabble with it, or just want to introduce some healthier meals into your Christmas spread, here is what I put together to make our Christmas delicious, whilst keeping it clean and plant-based.

Cashew cheese and shaved lemon-dill marinated papaya (mimicking smoked-salmon) “lox” on seed crackers – a great one for us Aussies who are used to summery Christmas’ and lots of fish! If you don’t have time to make your own, “Mary’s gone Crackers” is a great brand.

Caramelised baked sweet potato (infused with orange juice, cinnamon + a hint of maple syrup), toasted pine nuts and fresh basil

Sun-dried Tomato dip (try this recipe here, and replace carrots with 2 cups sun-dried tomatoes)

Lentil, mushroom and walnut “meatballs” with cranberry dipping sauce

Roast brussels sprouts with cumin tahini sauce, toasted pine nuts and fresh pomegranate

An easy chopped kale, silverbeet, parsley, crushed walnut and cranberry salad with a avocado and nutritional yeast creamy dressing

Desserts: Christmas shortbreads, Pumpkin Pie and Christmas Crumble!

 

I hope you all have a healthy and happy Christmas! Here are some other HAB recipes to add to the table…

Christmas Cauliflower, Pomegranate & Pistachio Salad

Sesame, Sweet Potato and Brown Rice Balls

Tomato & Lentil Teff Tart

Self-Sauced Rainbow Rice Paper Rolls

Creamy Tahini Coleslaw

Turmeric, Cinnamon & Basil Cauliflower Rice with Almonds

Sweet & Spciey Glazed Rainbow Carrots

Za’atar Carrot & Almond Dip

Vegan N’Egg Nog

Gingerbread bliss bites

N’Egg Nog Protein Muffins

Christmas Coconut Rough

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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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...

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 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!

Inspired By: Rachel Katz from The Full Life

Hi loves!

I am SO excited to start my “inspired by” segment, bringing you some of the most creative and motivational people in health and wellness that I have been lucky enough to cross paths with. First up, all the way from the other side of the globe we have the lovely Rachel Katz.

Rachel Katz is a recipe developer, health and wellness blogger, and third year nutritional science student at Cal State Los Angeles. Her goal is to help others learn how to love living a healthy lifestyle and become the best version of themselves. In her free time, she loves experimenting with healthy foods in the kitchen, eating, writing, spending time in nature, and spending quality time with her loved ones.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the Q&A…

Tell us a little about yourself and what made you study nutrition?

I’m currently a nutritional science student at Cal State LA, and three years ago I would have never pictured my life the way it is now! I went through a lot of health issues, both mental and physical, my first year of college and I decided to heal myself the natural way rather than the latter. It amazed me (and still does) how much food and lifestyle can affect your body and well being! After all the struggles I went through I knew that I had a purpose in life to help people not only heal through food, but learn how to change their mindset and daily habits in order to reach their fullest potential and live their version of the happiest and healthiest life possible! It was just two years ago that I switched my major to nutritional science, and my life has been getting better and more exciting each day since.


What is your health philosophy?

I don’t believe in diets or deprivation; I believe in simply living a healthy lifestyle. Life is too short to live it feeling weak,unmotivated, unhappy or unhealthy and it’s so crucial that we pay attention to what we put in our bodies, how we move our bodies,

interview1

and what we tell our bodies. I believe that we are all different, and therefore, our diets should all be different; what works for one person won’t always work for someone else! It’s so impor

tant not to compare yourself to others and instead find a diet that works for you. In general, I be

lieve in a balanced, whole foods, unprocessed, all natural diet; 90% healthy, 10% indulgence! I also believe that in order to be truly happy, you need to just do what makes you happy! Eating healthy and exercising alone won’t make you happy; focusing on your passions, treating yourself with love and respect, and spending time with the people you love will!

 


What’s your favourite quote or mantra you live by?

I don’t do diets, I do healthy!

 

What does a typical day on a plate look like for you?

I start every morning with some warm lemon water and meditation. For breakfast I usually eat oatmeal with fruit and nut butter, yogurt with raw granola and fruit, chia pudding, or a smoothie bowl. For lunch I usually eat a salad with a ton of greens and veg and a healthy fat like avocado with some protein like grilled chicken, tuna, hard boiled egg, tofu or beans! Sometimes I’ll make an egg scramble with sautéed kale, spinach and mushrooms and top it off with some avocado. I always snack between lunch and dinner and sometimes between breakfast and lunch if it’s a long day! My usual snacks are either some bliss balls or raw nuts with carrots,raw vegetables or crackers with hummus, a protein shake or smoothie, an apple or banana with some nut butter, or some yogurt with honey. For dinner I usually have a protein, like grilled chicken or fish, with a grilled veggie dish and either a sweet potato, brown rice, or quinoa. I have coffee every morning with breakfast and sip on water, sparkling water, green tea, or kombucha throughout the day. On the weekends my favorite foods to indulge in are sweet potato fries, a good piece of bread and frozen yogurt or ice cream!

 

What are the 3 foods you have to have on your dessert island?

Dates, bananas and coffee!

 

Lastly, what’s the greatest health advice you’ve ever been given?

Stop comparing yourself to others! What works for someone else won’t always work for you, and what works for you won’t necessarily work for someone else. Health isn’t one size fits all, and it’s so important to work towards your own goals and your own journey rather than focus on someone else’s.

Just before you go… Would you mind sharing one of your favourite clean recipes with us?

Rachel’s Raw Vegan & Gluten-Free Espresso Brownies

espressobrownies1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 15 medjool dates with 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup almonds or walnuts (I use walnuts since I’m allergic to almonds, but almonds are preferred!)
  • 2 tsps cacao powder
  • 2 tsps cacao nibs
  • 2 tsps maple syrup
  • 1 tsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of himalayan salt
  • pinch of espresso powder (can put more, just depends on how strong you like it!)

Raw chocolate Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsps cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • touch of water

INSTRUCTIONS:

First, blend medjool dates with water (I use a food processor). Then add in nuts and blend everything together (I like when it’s a little chunky so I don’t blend for too long, but if you prefer smooth/fudgy brownies than blend until the chunks are gone!). Pour into a large bowl and add in the rest of the ingredients- mix thoroughly (using your hands is the most efficient way to do this!) Pour mixture into a baking dish, pat down with hands, and freeze for about twenty minutes. In the mean time, prepare the chocolate sauce by warming up all of the ingredients in a pan for about two minutes. You can add more ingredients as you go along- just keep tasting the chocolate sauce until you achieve the perfect taste and consistency. Let the sauce cool and pour over the brownies. Freeze again for another 20 minutes, cut into brownie pieces, and keep the brownies in the fridge for a healthy desert that can be served warm with ice cream or just eaten as a snack.

espressobrownies

 

Connect with Rachel:

Instagram – @Rachel_Katz_

Twitter – @Rachel_Katz_

Website – www.TheFullLifeByRachel.com

SnapChat – rachelkatz45

Facebook – Rachel Katz Health & Wellness

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

My Morning Routine & How Loosing The “All or Nothing” Mentality Improved My Health

I used to think of a day as a good day, or a bad day.

I had an all or nothing approach. Contrary to some people – if I went for a run or ate a healthy breakfast, I didn’t want to “sabotage” that day with a treat or a reward. Instead, I would be super “healthy” that day – which really wasn’t that healthy at all. I would over-exercise, under-eat and feed my ego with twisted compliments about my “dedication” to my health.

The truth is, I would be depriving myself and ignoring my bodies messages, purely to fit within the confines of what I believed would deem that day a “good” day.

On the flip side – if I ate too much at breakfast or slept in and didn’t go for that workout, you could pretty much guarantee that the rest of the day was going to be full of grazing, binging, and lethargy.

All or nothing.

Once I became aware of how damaging this was I educated myself on productive health-oriented ways to begin my day. There are a variety of options out there to start your day right, with everyone recommending different tips that work for them. I, the perfectionist I am, decided to combine ALL of the advice and recommendations I had ever heard of into the “perfect” morning routine, which looked a little something like this…

Wake up. 20 deep belly breaths. Drink a warm lemon water with turmeric. Journal – set intentions for the day, focus on a positive affirmation and write out several things I am grateful for. Complete 20 minutes of yoga followed by 10-15 minutes of meditation. 45 minutes of exercise. Drink around 1L water. Have chlorophyll in another glass of water with some aloe vera juice. Dry body brush and shower. Shot 1 tbsp ACV. Prepare and eat breakfast…

To say that it was difficult to complete this excessive list regularly would be an understatement. It was near impossible! And even if I did 9 out of those 15 things I would focus on the 6 I didn’t do. These were intended to be feel-good, relaxing ways to wake up and care for myself, yet here I was making them arduous tasks and chores. They had become a to-do list of how to cope with my to-do list! I was even more exhausted then I was not doing them, and I was no closer to feeling good about myself.

Now, I take a gentler approach. I make sure to start my day on a good note, but if I don’t, I don’t let it define and dictate my day. I do my very best, and acknowledge that that is enough.

Here is what my more relaxed morning routine looks like:

I get up after 8 hours sleep around 6:20am.

I center myself on my yoga mat or on the couch by taking 10-20 deep belly breaths (I find this particularly useful if I wake up anxious, but even if I don’t it just makes me pause before rushing to start my workout)

I then sip on warm lemon water, preferably outdoors for some fresh air. Here, I simply think of things I am grateful for or reiterate a positive thought for the day. If I want to, I will write this down, but 7/10 times I won’t.

Then, I move my body for 30-60 minutes – a strong walk, vinyasa yoga, HIIT, soft sands, or a big stretch using my foam roller.

At 8am I prepare a wholesome breakfast and eat it slowly and mindfully. If I take a snap of it, I will then put my phone away and enjoy my meal, BEFORE I upload to IG 😉

I’m usually at my desk by 9am sharp and the first thing I do is put pen to paper and write a list of “to-do’s”. From that list, I circle the 3 priorities for my day. I also write down one or two SFM’s – “Something For Me’s” – which might be practice yoga, meditation or a 20 minute relax, some reading, a catch up with a friend, a date night or something yummy.

If I didn’t get one or two of these things done, I just do them at 11am, or 4pm, or 8pm. Because I have learned that you can start fresh at any point in the day. And that the time is NOW to make today count- not tomorrow, not next week, not next month.

I hope this helps anyone struggling with waking up anxious or trying to find their own groove with a morning routine. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it might look different day-to-day. So long as you are enjoying it and are calm, you are doing something right.

The Skinny on Stevia

This topic is an important one to me because 1) stevia is my no.1 clean treat cooking tool and 2) a lot of people seem to be cautious of it or not like the idea of it. I’m hoping to clear up any confusion you may have! Here is why I love this particular “white stuff”…

It’s sugar-free…

Other than natural fruits, I am completely sugar-free, very rarely even using things like maple syrup or dates. First things first, let me just say that these natural sweeteners are nutritious in their own right, however, from a sugar perspective, they are still sugar, which is why I prefer stevia – a natural, healthy and sugar-free alternative.

It’s natural…

To me, stevia is a superfood because it allows us to have something sweet without the sugar rush. Let me be very clear, Stevia is natural, it is NOT an artificial sweetener!

You use less…

It is said to have sweetening power 100+ times that of refined sugar, meaning not only is it better for you, but you use less.

It’s extremely beneficial, particularly for blood sugar stabilisation…

It has antifungal, antimicrobial, digestive, diuretic and of course, sweetening properties. Studies have shown a beneficial relationship between stevia and the regulation of blood sugar levels in 24 cases of hypoglycemia.

It’s nutritious…

Stevia is a good source of potassium – a major mineral for healing, muscular function, digestion, brainpower, nerve conductivity, fluid balance and the elimination of toxic wastes. It is also rich in manganese (glandular system, hormone production, transmission of impulses between nerves and muscles) and chromium (assists metabolism and efficient insulin function).

It’s safe…

It has been used in Asia since the 80s and there have been no documented cases of the sweetener having any detrimental effects. It has been used for thousands of years in South America as a healing and health promoting flavour enhancer and/or herbal tea.

 

Uses: I use it in teas, smoothies, baking, raw desserts… anywhere you would use sugar. If you scroll through my dessert and baking recipes, you will see that I use it extensively. It comes in powder and liquid drops. Lately I have been opting for liquid drops, particularly in my tea or smoothies, as you use even less.

Brands I like: Please note, at the end of the day, stevia in the forms listed below are the most palatable, however that does come at a cost. To make them white / liquid, they are processed. They look nothing like their green leaf. The same goes for other sugar substitutes (see below). This is something to consider, and if this bothers you, green powdered stevia can be purchased. I sometimes use this, but rarely, as most people do not agree with the taste. It is a choice you make – I choose stevia regardless of the processing because I believe it is the best choice for my health, my insulin levels, hormones, weight, and overall wellbeing. It gives me no digestive upset whatsoever. Find what works for you.

For stevia drops I use the vanilla crème sweet drops, however all flavours by this brand are a good option. Otherwise I choose Natvia, which blends stevia with erythritol (see below).

 

Brief overview of other sugar substitutes:

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, however there is no ethanol in erythritol and so it is not the same as an alcoholic beverage. This merely refers to its chemistry. It comes from plants like melon, has no calories, does not raise blood sugar, is well digested and does not have any carcinogenic properties. These characteristics are akin to Xylitol, another sugar alcohol and one that I have in my kitchen and use frequently in cooking.

Cautions:

If you experience bloating or digestive upset, stop use. Ensure you chose a brand that is 100% stevia/xylitol unless it is mixed with erythritol or another natural sugar substitute. Always do your research.

The Inertia Feature: Sleep Tricks To Have You Ready For Dawn Patrol

I am so excited to be contributing to The Inertia Health section again! These sleep tips are essential to a good nights sleep whether it be for an early surf, an early yoga class, a solo run, a gym session or merely just a fresh start to your day! Find out why sleep is so crucial to good health and how you can maximise your zzzzzz time here.

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