Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gym Class Reviews

"Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical exercise save it and preserve it." Plato.

Whether you're a gym junkie or not even a member of a gym, you can still enjoy a fitness class from time to time.
I understand that not everyone is into exercising with other people around, but really, no one is looking at you analysing every bead of sweat that may start falling down your nose.
I like classes because you normally end up doing exercises you normally wouldn't attempt, thus broadening your exercise horizons and moving outside the square a bit. I also think you push yourself harder in a class than just working out in the cardio and weights areas of a gym.

Body Pump
Effort rating: 9/10
Entails using bars with weights that you have chosen and doing repetition after repetition of mainly arm and leg work (lunges, squats, bicep curls etc). Free weights are also used. Pros: full body strength workout, muscle building, can choose weights. Cons: other participants can see how little you have on your bar, muscle soreness occurs the next day (usually).

Effort rating 7/10
Spin, to me, is the ol' faithful gym class. Not really varying, you're always on a bike, pedalling, just with varying degrees of resistance. Pros: You know what you're getting into, it's relatively easy with no tricky moves, people can't see how much resistance you actually have on your bike. Cons: Kind of boring.

Effort rating: 7/10
I have only done zumba a few times, so I'm no expert. It involves a vague interpretation of dancing and lots of hip movements. Pros: it's a bit of fun, good for all age groups, you're not likely to be sore the next day. Cons: I didn't feel like it was a great workout and there are some tricky moves.

Effort rating: 8.5/10
Circuit classes consist of doing a certain exercise (eg starjumps, sit ups, push ups) or using a certain piece of equipment (cross trainer, bike etc) for a set amount of time, usually not for very long, and then everyone moves onto the next station. Pros: you usually get a good full body workout from the really varying stations, you get a bit of a break between stations (although not a very big break). Cons: It's likely that a push up or 10 will be required of you...

Body Step
Effort rating: 6.5 / 10
I'm probably being a bit harsh on step with the effort rating, but I really didn't find it that challenging (although I climb the stairs a lot). It involves having a step board in front of you (which you can adjust the height of) and stepping up and down, mainly. There are a few other movements thrown in for good measure. Pros: works the butt muscles and the routines can be quite fun. Cons: Not too challenging.

Body Balance
I can't actually comment on this because I've been too scared to go to a body balance class, as I'm lacking in the balance department, but I will challenge myself to go one day!

Many more coming up though; CX30, pilates, boot camp, Bikram yoga... I've actually done more than I thought now that I'm writing it all down.


Monday, August 29, 2011

In The Spotlight : Chia Seeds

Why hello there!
I thought I'd try something different for this post and perhaps start a little something, a string of posts where I talk about products I love.
One of the things that I love is chia!! I pronounce it chee-ah, but I have heard them referred to as chai-ah. I think my pronunciation is right, but then again I always think I'm right.

So. Chia seeds are tiny little black or white seeds, only slightly larger than poppy seeds, which have become very popular in the last 6 months due to media coverage. Whilst we think of them as the new black, they were actually widely used by the Aztecs (who always seemed to be onto a good thing). A 500g packet will normally set you back a bit over $10.

Only in 2009 the European Union approved chia seeds as a 'novel food', which means a food that doesn't have a significant history of being consumed, or uses a production method previously unused.

Why I like chia seeds:
- They are so easy to use! Just sprinkle a good tablespoon or 2 onto your cereal or porridge and you get a great dose of the 'healthy' fats, protein, calcium, antioxidants and fibre.
- You can use them as an egg replacement in cooking - just mix one teaspoon of chia into 1/4 cup hot water and let sit for a few minutes, then stir into mixture.
- Putting chia seeds in your bircher muesli (or vegan overnight oats) gives it a really good texture in the morning.
- They are easy to disguise - and therefore hide in foods that kids will eat.

The only downside I can think of for chia seeds is that they get stuck in your teeth pretty easily, but I'm willing to risk it!

In other news, I got engaged!!!!!!!! So stay tuned as to how I plan on reaching my goal weight for the engagement party (just under 2 months away).


Monday, August 22, 2011

The All Elusive Wagon

Good Morning!
Today I thought I'd do another post on motivation, or getting back 'on the wagon'. It's just coming into spring (almost), and while maybe some people have been exercising and eating well all through winter (not me, unfortunately), others are dusting the cobwebs off their sneakers.

Time for me to confess. I went through about a 4 week slump and ate heaps and didn't go to the gym for 3 weeks. Enter a small amount of retail therapy (new workout top), and slightly higher number on the scales, and me going RIGHT, and getting my act together. I'm not saying we should be perfect, but there's a big difference when feeling good about yourself because you know you're going well, or feeling that little niggling guilt when you know you haven't done as much as you could.

Sometimes I like looking at pictures to get me motivated.

Other times it pays to have a motivation buddy - 'meet you at the gym!'. Turn exercise into something social as well.
Become knowledgeable and know why you should be giving up junk food. Not just because 'it makes me fat'. Next time you buy something processed, Google the numbers in the ingredient list, just to see what comes up. You probably won't like what you see.
I used to like McDonalds too. I'd eat it, know it was 'bad' and eat it anyway. Now it doesn't attract me at all. It makes me feel greasy.

I've just read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, which I really recommend if you want an eye opener as to where your food comes from. I loved it.

Enjoy your food. For breakfast I just had rolled oats with chia seeds, coconut, rapadura sugar and calcium powder - healthy and yum!

You can do it!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Smoothies Revisited

This is the sequel post to Shake It Up Baby, my previous (and first) post about smoothies.

Smoothies (in the wild) possess extremely good adaptation skills, and can adapt to any environment. They can survive in the harshest of conditions, on the bare minimum, or can lead a life of richness when presented with an abundance of nutritious foods.

Okay enough with the crazy talk. It's been a few months since I last spoke with you about smoothies, and my smoothies have evolved a little since then. I still have a few of the same favourites, mainly spirulina - it's gonna take a while yet to kill that buzz! But I just wanted to share with you some new smoothalicious ideas I've been messing around with lately.

I just want to re-iterate that when thinking of what to put into your blender, first think of what you want to achieve through this smoothie. Weight loss? Nutrition? Alkalyse? Protein? A meal? All of the above? Then you can tailor it to suit your needs.

When I became vegan I gave away the several different whey protein based powders that were lying around in the cupboard and bought myself my new favourite protein powder. Behold!! Pea protein isolate!
This baby is 100% pure pea protein isolate, made from golden peas. It's protein is 88% bioavailable (meaning that's how much your body can use) and it has a great amino acid profile. If you get the vanilla flavour (like me) it smells like delicious honeycomb and tastes great, with no artificial sweeteners!

On a fruity note, bananas have been too expensive for long enough for me to have to get creative when it comes to really packing some flavour punch for my smoothies. Here are some things I've been known to just chuck in with everything else:
- natural peanut butter
- sulphur free dried apricots
- dessicated coconut
- rolled oats
- canned pineapple
- coconut milk
- applesauce
Basically whatever is lying around.

If you want to take your smoothies to the ultimate health pinnacle (until the next best thing comes along), add a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin seeds that have been soaked overnight and blend them in with everything else. They are really high in protein and especially high in the amino acid tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin, and we all know that serotonin makes us happy!

I'm trying to think what else is new in Smoothietown. Obviously I don't make mine with dairy milk anymore, I use mainly my home made almond milk but sometimes soy or rice. I'm toying with the idea of buying maca powder soon for another addition, but I'll blog that when I get to it.

I hope you're thinking about what to put in your smoothie tomorrow!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One Month Veganversary

Yesterday was my 1 month anniversary with not eating meat, eggs, dairy, gelatine or honey. I've been asked if I've missed it, especially cheese. The answer is no, not really. Of course I know that cheese is tasty, but at the moment, the pro's of being a vegan are outweighing the cons.

My very personalised list of pro's:
- Really enjoying cooking and experimenting with foods I wouldn't have tried before, and surprising people by cooking them great tasting vegan meals.
-Needing about an hour less sleep than pre-vegan me. This was something I noticed independently and then read about it on the net, apparently it's quite common.
- Being able to help customers a whole lot more than before. There's been quite a few instances in the last month where me being vegan and the knowledge of healthy cooking that comes with that has really helped me when talking with customers.
- I have a general peaceful feeling when it comes to 'doing my bit' for the environment and animal cruelty.
- Becoming vegan has inspired me so much to set up my own backyard fruit and veggie garden (already on the way) and really think about where my food comes from and who I'm supporting when I buy foods from giant supermarkets, smaller gourmet stores or stalls in the markets.
- I have a lot of energy. It wasn't like I was 'slumping' before I became vegan so it is hard to say whether that's what has caused it, but I've been feeling really good lately.

Cons of being vegan:
-The main thing I struggle with has been being difficult for other people when I am at their house, eating their food.

And that's about it! Now I've just realised I really have to get ready for work... oops!
Have a great day!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Who Dunnit? Muesli Bars and Their Accomplices

What do you snack on? 11am might come around and you find yourself feeling a bit peckish. Or maybe you're more of an afternoon snacker, say 3ish? Or I also know people who's snack time tends to be late into the night, say 10-11 (by which time I'm usually asleep, although probably dreaming about food).

These snack times can be a real killer for people trying to lose weight, especially because of certain marketing ploys that make you think some things are healthy when they're really not so good.

One of these supposedly healthy products is the muesli bar. A lot of muesli bars have great ingredients in that they're wholesome and nutritious, but can contain more calories than you would think.

Just say for afternoon tea you ate a Be Natural Apricot and Almond bar and a bottle of Nestle Lemon Iced Tea.

You wouldn't say that's a very unhealthy snack, right? Well those two items combined brings a total of 374 calories, or 1,564 kilojoules. You could have a whole can of traditional Heinz Baked Beans for that, with a calories to spare.

For healthy snacks, you can't go past fresh fruit or veggies, teamed with a herbal or green tea. I often go for small amounts of dried fruits and nuts as well, but that's easy for me because they are always at work and I can buy them whenever I want.

I just wanted to show how marketing can be a bit deceiving and you really need to be knowledgeable about what you're eating if you have a specific goal.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pavlov's Dog

This is my first post I'm writing whilst wearing my new reading glasses! So trendy. Even if I do look like I'm copying Josh now.

Every first Tuesday of the month at work we have a special discount day that gets really busy. This Super Tuesday (earlier this week) and the previous one, I put out samples of 'healthy' homemade chocolate that I wrote about here. I also wrote out the recipe for people to take. From a business perspective, I put them out because we sell most of the ingredients. It was a great success! Everyone said it was yummy, lots of people took recipes and a good handful of people bought all the ingredients for it.
Today at work a customer came in (who had come in on Super Tuesday and tasted the sample) and asked me where my chocolate was. I said it was all gone, and she said "I was looking forward to it, my mouth was salivating just walking in here". Then she went and bought all the ingredients to make it herself.
It was only after she left that I realised that was classic Pavlov's Dog, which I found pretty laughable. I'm such a marketer! Ha.

In other news, my copy of Veganomicon vegan cookbook came in the mail today (finally!), and there are so many recipes I want to try! All in good time.


Monday, August 1, 2011

CX30 and Pie Cookie

Over the weekend I tried this novel idea for a recipe - a pie cookie! And from such a great blog too. Let me tell you, it was delicious. Or should I say 'they' were delicious, because I may have made more than one in the space of 3 days. In fact, I made 3! One every day for 3 days. Oh dear. I made it first on Friday night and Josh and I loved it (I'll just add here that I halved the recipe), and on Saturday Josh asked me to make another one. This is how the conversation went:

Josh: 'Can you make me another pie cookie?'
Me: 'No because I'll just end up eating it!'
Josh: 'Just don't make it vegan friendly, make it with white chocolate.'

And because I'm so nice, I gave in. Then I went to a friends house for a catch up on Sunday night and decided to take another one with me, seeing as I was on a roll (or a cookie... hehe).


Also this morning I tried the new Les Mills CX30 group fitness class. It's a 30 minute, intense strength class. It uses resistance bands for one of the tracks as well, which is a bit of a change. It's a really good work out but I struggled with the vertical and side planks, they just don't work well for me yet. I'd definitely do it again - good to get out of the comfort zone!

That's all for now!


02.08.2011 UPDATE: My abs are sooooo sore!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


As a naturopath, it's always a good feeling to have a client or customer come back and tell you that 'whatever it was, it worked!'. Especially seeing as I'm currently a shop-floor-naturopath, the client has to make the extra effort to come back and see me (it's not like I'm calling them asking how they're going, if you get what I mean).

The other day I had the best news I could wish to hear from a client - I'd helped them get pregnant (I am aware that putting it that way does sound a little odd...).
Basically a client hadn't been able to get pregnant for years and I gave her a couple supplements to take and 2 months later it works! I am incredibly happy for her and proud that I was able to help someone at such an important stage of her life.

The only downside is, we'll never know if she would have gotten pregnant anyway, supplement or no supplement. I like to believe in myself and in my therapies so I'm just going to go ahead and take some credit.
Happy days!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Losing My Veganity.

Important Announcement.

Until at least February next year I will be leading a vegan diet, for the following reasons:
-Because I want to try it out and see what it's like.
-So I actually have a topic to talk about at the Natural Health Expo next February (topic - The Farmer's Daughter Goes Vegan, and eating to maximise nutrient profiles - how does that sound?)

Yep. So I know my reasons aren't what you'd call 'solid'. But hey, it's been about a week and a half now and I'm loving it. Well I'm loving most of it. Everything except being a burden on others when I go to their houses to eat. I even don't mind eating out at restaurants, it's like I see it as a challenge.
Image from here

As I browse the internet (too much, so much so that I need reading glasses now and I blame the computer!!) I come across heaps of good vegan blogs that are SO interesting and I'm realising how much being a vegan is actually a passion. I also came across a lot of people saying they felt 'liberated' when they declared themselves vegan and I am kinda identifying with that. There's just something about it that makes me feel... lively.

I'm not saying that I agree completely and utterly with the concepts of a vegan diet, but I do like the benefits so far (like the satisfaction of lowering my carbon footprint).

Another thing - did you like the title of this post? It's probably been done before, but I wanted to have a play on words after discovering a few witty blog names: It Ain't Meat Babe, Vegan Dance If You Want To and Pride and Vegudice. I'm laughing just writing these down. Classic!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Multi Purpose Almond Mush

Hello! It's the start of another weekend, although I'm up early to go to work on a Saturday, fun!
I'm off to an 80's themed party tonight, but good ol' organised me thought that ordering my Flashdance costume over the net 10 working days in advance would be enough - apparently not! So I'm gradually piecing together a plan B.

Remember when I was talking about the leftover almond pulp when making almond milk? And how I said it was too good to throw away? Well this is what I did with mine:

It went from being innocent, healthy almond mush ...

To the icing on a decadent chocolate cake!

A total turn around! I had the idea because I was making this vegan cake and was wondering what I could use for icing if I didn't want to use margarine. Obviously there's some better choices out there (like coconut oil) but I had to use the almond pulp for something. I added copious amounts of raw cacao powder and icing sugar and a bit of vanilla essence.
Josh gave the cake 2 thumbs up but the icing (his words) a 'slight thumbs down'. It tasted good but the texture isn't what we're used to. I think it tastes heaps better the next day (ie this morning... cake for breakfast anyone?) I got the recipe from here and it comes highly recommended. I did substitute the vegan mayonnaise (too lazy to make, to frugal to buy) for avocado. Worked a treat!

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Home Made Almond Milk

Me: "I'm making home made almond milk"
Friend: "How do you milk an almond?"
Well I'll tell you how!

Step #1: Soak 250g of raw almonds in about 850mls cold water for 24 hours.

Step #2: Put everything in a blender (water included) and blend until you can blend no more.

Step #3: Put it all through a sieve. Mine was quite thick because of the cheap and nastiness of my blender, but you can use the pulp for other things - too good to throw out!

Step #4: Drink and enjoy! Or use in your oats, like I just did and it was great!!

The picture above doesn't really do justice to the creaminess of the almond milk, it had a real frothiness about it after blending it for so long. Actually none of the pictures do it justice because they are all taken with a phone.

Notes: I added a smidge of maple syrup and vanilla essence to take a little of the almond bitterness off. Commercial almond milk has rice syrup and also a bit of oil added to it (not sure why).

Why you would want almond milk over dairy:
- You have a dairy intolerance or allergy
- You're on an alkalysing diet: dairy milk has a higher pH than almond
- Vegan
- You have a cold: dairy (as a food group generally) is mucous forming, so avoiding dairy can be beneficial during times when you already have enough snot and mucous floating around.

Why you wouldn't want almond milk over dairy:
- You're only a child
- You're on a tight budget (these almonds cost me $3.25 with a discount and it didn't make heaps)
- You have milking cows in your back yard (??)

Anyway I'm off to get ready for another day at work (as my co-worker would say, another day, another million dollars - Ha!)


Friday, July 15, 2011

Hot Quinoa Breakfast

Good Morning!
Wow, 3 blogs in quick succession - I must be getting bored!! No, I just wanted to tell you about my breakfast this morning, as I'm sure you all need to know.

I've talked about quinoa before and how healthy, yummy and versatile it is. Previously I'd only ever cooked it savoury (quinoa and roast vegetable salad, quinoa with chicken and fetta...), but it's been coming up for a while now that I should try it as a sweet dish (I have lots of customers ask me about it).

If you read as many health food blogs as I do you'd know that there probably isn't a single health food blogger out there who hasn't written about a quinoa breakfast. What makes mine so special? Because I made it, of course!

This is how I made it:
-Boil the quinoa at a ratio of 1 part quinoa 3 parts water and wait until it has absorbed the water (stir frequently).
-In that water add a generous dollop of mixed spice, nutmeg, some cardamom pods and rapadura sugar.
-Once it has absorbed everything, add about 3/4 cup of milk (I used almond) and as many sultanas as you like and a sprinkling of coconut and again wait until it has all been absorbed.
-To serve, I put in a bowl with more sprinkled sultanas and a little bit of light cream (gasp).

It made the house smell so nice! And was delicious. Just one note, the texture is quite unique and I can tell some of the more fussy eaters wouldn't like it just because of that. I will definitely make again, but I might try soaking the quinoa overnight to see if it speeds up cooking time because at the moment it could only be a weekend breakfast (it took me about 25-30 minutes all up).

Also did anyone notice the addition of Ayurvedic spices? Cardamom is supposed to be really good for digestion and some respiratory conditions (amongst other benefits).

Have a great weekend!


In With the New (But Not Out With the Old)

Today at work we had another naturopath work with us for the first time, and I loved it! We had so much fun.

When I say for the first time, well technically while I was on my little holiday there was a herbalist that took my place for that time but I don't think she's anything permanent.

This morning the newbie and I worked together and it was super quiet so we had heaps of time to chat about natural therapies and the like. She specialises in Ayurvedic medicine (if you want to know more go here) which I know next to nothing about and it was really interesting learning about it and how she tries to incorporate it into her life.

She tries to practise Ayurvedic techniques in her day to day life such as meditation and yoga and also adding lots of spices to her foods (the spices are specific to her constitution). There's obviously a lot more to it than that, and every 2 years she goes to India for a 5 week Ayurvedic detox which sounded so extreme (and so awesome!).

I've been the only (forgive me) knowledgeable one at my work for about 6 months now and I suppose some people might think that I would feel threatened by someone else coming into the scene, but I'm actually really keen to learn from her and broaden my perspectives on my current treatments and practises. It's exciting!

The downside was it was ridiculously quiet in the shop today so we didn't even get to give anyone health advice, but soon! Soon I'll have the consultation room in the shop and I can really practise what I've learnt.

Exciting times ahead. Stay tuned. I'm off to experiment with wonton wrappers.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ways I Try to Conquer the Common Cold

It's that time of the year again where you read in every magazine and newspaper the benefits of vitamin C or good hygiene or the next big wonder cure. Let's face it. These bugs get around, and I get subjected to the lot of them at work.
Now, {disclaimer} I'm not perfect, last year I got 3 severe colds. This year I didn't want a repeat, and so far I've only had one and it didn't progress very far. So why trust my advice? It's not like I'm someone who never gets sick - but I know what helps me enormously, and I'm not that different from everyone else!

I take around 1000mg of calcium ascorbate (non acidic vitamin C in a powder form) 5 days a week. It would be 7 days but I leave it at work and take it when I get there, it helps me to remember.
I didn't take it last year, and I think it's really helped me this year. Also having a generally healthy diet (lots of fruit and veg, no smoking etc) can help you overcome sickness more easily.
There are lots of 'immune support formulas' out there, usually based on herbs and minerals, which can be really effective (especially if you know you don't have a good diet) but I think if you just put a bit of thought into diet then you don't necessarily need more.

If you get a tickly throat:
As soon as my throat feels different - not even sore, just ticklish or weird - I will do something about it. Last week I was sitting on the couch and thought my throat felt weird so I went to the cupboard and in a cup put the juice of half a lemon and some good quality honey (preferably manuka), mixed it around a bit and ate it all. The next day I woke up fine, but then again I could have been imagining it in the first place. But seriously, that is what I continue to do throughout a cold anyway.
My favourite lozenge is Nutrition Care Zinech Throat Lozenges, I find them really good for my throat and they're also high enough in echinacea to be beneficial to you getting over your cold (not just soothing a sore throat).
These are the things that I do, if it's really bad (only once, for me) I buy Fusion Cold and Flu and take 6 tablets a day until I'm better.

So there you go! Hopefully you won't need my advice because you won't get any colds!



Saturday, July 2, 2011

The SLOW Principle.

Hello everyone!
It turns out I didn't get to go to New Zealand after all, but I had a nice Tasmanian holiday anyway, of which today is my last day. So back to blogging!
During our nutrition section of study, we learnt that the basis to a solid, healthy diet is to follow the SLOW principle.

To be honest, if I had to make them in order of priority, I would put them in the opposite order, but WOLS isn't as good an acronym.

I completely agree with this principle, but it's like an 'in an ideal world' type principle. To eat only (or even mostly) locally would be quite difficult. If I restricted myself to eating only Tasmanian products I'd get by, for sure, but there would be a lot of resisting temptation going on. Even though Tassie has some great produce, it doesn't have the climate for a lot of the things I love, like coconut or bananas. But I think it's a good idea to choose Tasmanian over imported where you can to support local business and reduce your carbon footprint slightly.
Some Tasmanian things you can find in my pantry: Miellerie Prickly Box Honey, Organic Quinoa, Ashgrove Bush Pepper Cheese, Tas Flour Mills Wholemeal Flour and Blue Banner Pickled Onions - the onions are grown in Tassie but I think pickled in NSW... so not entirely Tasmanian, but delicious.

Seasonal is more about eating fresh foods, which I don't completely agree with. Snap frozen foods can have more nutritional value than fresh sometimes because they've been sitting in the supermarket for ages whilst veggies such as peas are frozen within 24 hours of being picked.

Organic is great where it is a) affordable and/or b) available. Organic foods found in my pantry - Melrose Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil, Elgaar Farm Organic Milk (also Tasmanian) and Lotus Organic Chia Seeds.

Whole is, in my opinion, the most important of the 4. Over processed foods, even though they are often delicious, are the bane of the current Western diet. Is that too harsh? Probably. Enjoy in moderation! Choose wholegrain breads - wholemeal isn't wholegrain, by the way, read the ingredients for 'wholegrain flour'. Try to get your 5 serves of fruit and veggies in a day. My favourite wholegrain bread is Ancient Grains Wholegrain Organic Spelt which is sooo yummy as well!
And to leave you with this weekends photo (totally on topic) - Oby enjoying himself amongst our recently pruned 4 fruit trees (greengage, apricot, peach and apple). This is their 2nd year in the ground so hopefully we'll get some mature fruit.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Life is What Happens When You're Busy Making Other Plans.

For a few days last week I decided to try out the blood type diet just for fun. So to recap, type A's (me) are supposed to eat limited dairy and red meat, lots of wholegrains and vegetables and approved fruits. Here is what I ate for a few days:

So I know I've taken a photo of the computer screen... you can deal.

But I find that life often gets in the way of a good plan. Example one. The family dinner with lasagne, pretty much the complete opposite of what I was trying to achieve (low meat, low dairy). But what can I do? Lasagne is delicious, and it would be rude to turn it down. Then on the weekend, well everyone knows what happens on the weekend. Even the best laid plans can get blasted out of the way of a good social life.

Speaking of social lives, I won't be able to post for the next couple of weeks because I'm off snowboarding in New Zealand. Pouvre moi! But I will let you know how it goes.

I'd just like to highlight the dessert in the middle of the photo - fresh banana with natural peanut butter and jam - YUM! Try it one day.

I think it's good to try a change in diet every once in a while because it's easy to eat the same thing over and over again. When you try new things, even if it's uncomfortable at the time, you can learn more about what yourself and your tastes.

Well I'll talk to you in a couple of weeks!
Stay healthy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Blood Type Diet

Unfortunately, a lovely long weekend is drawing to a close. Happy birthday to the queen, and all that (even though her birthday isn't today).
I try to be productive every weekend, especially on a long weekend, but today it was proving hard not to snuggle up on the couch with a good book. But I beat the lazies, and cleaned house and did small reno jobs. And now I even have an updated blog!

Some of you may have heard of the blood type diet, or 'Eating Right for Your Type', founded by Peter D'Adamo.
It's important to note that this isn't a weight loss diet. The theory (basically) is that different blood types have different predispositions to illness and digest the various food types differently. It is about eating to keep your body 'healthy, energetic and strong'.
So my blood type is A+, which I know from a) giving blood and b) blood typing tests we did during training.

According to the blood type diet, type A's prosper when eating a diet rich in vegetables (but not the nightshade family), beans, legumes, nuts, wholegrains and cereals, green tea, red wine (in moderation) and alkalysing fruit. Type A's should stay away from red meat, most dairy, acidic fruits, vinegar and vinegar based products and highly processed grains.

To look at what your blood type diet recommends, go to the official website or to this website, which gives quite a lot of information. If you don't know your blood type, go donate blood! It's a worthy cause and they'll give you a milkshake if you want one!

So, is the diet worth it? I'm not sure. I have had clients who have gone on the blood type diet and found they had increased energy levels and were feeling generally healthier, but that could also be because once you make the choice to abide by the diet you tend to eat healthier anyway. I think generally most (Western) practitioners disregard it because it lacks scientific evidence.

None the less, if people who go on this diet eat healthier anyway then it is going to be doing good, regardless of if it is because it is suiting their blood type or not. Hopefully.

Also, an update on the kefir. I forgot to mention that the kefir that I used is dried, where as the real stuff (called kefir grains) is alive and looks a bit like cauliflower. The dried is good, but the real kefir is a lot more potent. I was talking to a customer at work the other day who just so happened to have some rampant kefir grains and promised to bring some in for me one day!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Homemade Kefir Part Deux

After 48 hours of fermenting (I gave it an extra 12 hours for good luck), and 12 hours overnight in the fridge, this morning I poured myself a fresh glass of almond kefir.

It's great! I wasn't sure what to expect. It still tastes like almond milk but with a sort of yoghurty twist. It's also thickened slightly but not much. Josh had a taste and really didn't like it (so much so that he rinsed his mouth out afterwards), but he hadn't even tried straight almond milk before.
My yield - a litre of sweet almond kefir.

Teamed with spirulina, chia and coconut organic rolled oats (with a crushed Coles organic Weetbic) that were soaked overnight (also in almond milk) and a splash of maple syrup, I feel super healthy for breakfast!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Homemade Kefir

Good Morning!
It's a balmy 9 degrees outside and I'm enjoying my first annual leave day for the year. I'm sitting almost directly underneath the air-con, right next to a jar of fermenting kefir.

So what is kefir? It is a fermented, probiotic milk drink. You can read more about it here, but basically it's similar to a really, really beneficial yoghurt. I haven't seen it commercially available pre-made anywhere locally, although that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

It's great for digestion and for restoring bacterial balance (and thus can be beneficial for the immune system).

I've never tried it before, but at work we sell the grains to make your own, and it's relatively cheap, $8.95 will get you 25L. One of the practitioners near us (a chiropractor-cum-health-advisor) tells lots of his clients to come in a buy it, but he doesn't tell them what it is first. I've been telling them all that they need to buy a yoghurt maker to make it, but I had someone tell me the other day you don't actually need one. Oops! So I thought, I'll give it a go.

I'm making mine with almond milk (latest obsession), and I've heard the almond gives it a nice taste.

Side note: It's pronounced KEY-fur, not KEF-ear, because that's pretty offensive in Afrikaans (Bryce Courtenay teaches me such useful things).

I should have probably saved this post for when my kefir has finished fermenting (tomorrow night, after fermenting at room temp for 36 hours and sitting in the fridge for 12), but hey, I've got the day off and you can all wait with baited breaths over how it turns out.

My fermenting kefir in a glass jar borrowed from work. There is a litre in there.

Products used: Almond milk and kefir grains. Total cost: $7.30/L.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

7 Thoughts on Vegetarianism.

Carnivore, omnivore, herbivore.
Meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans...

This is a topic I've been wanting to write about for a while, but I've not been sure how to go about it.
Going by the philosophy of live and let live, I'm going to outline for you some of the ideas that have cropped up around this topic from (what I hope is) a relatively fence-sitting point of view.

1. Statistics, schmatistics. A vegetarian diet has been 'proven' to reduce some forms of cancer, obesity and cardiovascular conditions. I'm definitely not negating this, but it's also said that statistics on vegetarian diets aren't always accurate, because people who follow vegetarianism also tend to lead healthier lifestyles generally, so it can't be put down to just eating or not eating meat.

2. The ol' iron debate. Meats are typically very high in iron, and vegetarians who don't consciously make an effort to include other forms of iron can find themselves deficient quite easily. However, it is relatively easy to get enough iron through diet or supplementation without eating meat, all you have to do is think it through. Vitamin B12 and zinc can also become depleted when refraining entirely from meat, but again forethought and meal planning can keep your levels up.

3. The ol' protein debate. I have customers (men and women) who are trying to build up muscle and are having ridiculous amounts of meat a day for protein levels. The body can only assimilate around 30g (depending on how much you weigh) of protein per meal. A generous handful of pumpkin seeds will give you 34g of protein. So you could go either way. Or both ways, and have meat once a day and a serving of pumpkin seeds once a day.

4. Free range all the way. If you are a meat eater, make it free range. We've all heard about animal cruelty (ah, who watched four corners the other night??), and I think the time has come to actually think about what you're putting in your mouth and where it has come from and what it has been through.

5. Greenhouse gases. Agriculture contributes to around 16% of greenhouse gas emissions. With this in mind, you meat eaters can choose what meats to eat more than others (for eg, beef is the worst choice if you want to lower your carbon footprint). And if you really want beef, did you know that grain fed cattle produce up to 60% less emissions than grass fed (per kg)?

6. Why aren't more people vegetarian? Considering all of the bad press meat-eating is getting lately, it's surprising we're not seeing a new trend emerging (or are we? I couldn't find any data...). Why is this? Because Sam Kekovich is breathing down our necks? Because of that KFC add where she's a vegetarian but 'not on Thursdays'? Because you don't want to go to someone's house for dinner and have that awkward moment where you have to inconvenience them to tell them you're a vego?

7. It's not all or nothing, baby. It seems like either you are a vegetarian, never eating meat, or you aren't a vegetarian, and have meat almost every day. Well it doesn't have to be that way.
You don't have to be a vegetarian to have a dinner that doesn't include meat. '

Personally, I think we need to decrease our consumption of meat as a society, but that doesn't necessarily mean cutting it out all together. I also think meat-eaters need to choose more smartly and not just think about what's easiest or cheapest.

And I thought I'd chuck in a cute little cow.

Stay tuned for (eventually) what vegetarians/vegans should include in their diet to make sure their nutrition is up to scratch.


PS. Happy Birthday to one of my besties, who has just made the decision to become a vegetarian. Good on you!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I spend a bit of time browsing the internet, my usual search tags being natural health, fitness, vegan, exercise, just to see what comes up.
Recently I found a great vegan blog on which I found a recipe for home made 'healthy' chocolate chips. The only ingredients were cocoa powder, carob powder, agave nectar, coconut oil and vanilla essence. I thought, I have everything in the cupboard! So I pretty much went straight to the kitchen to give it a go.
Instead of using carob I used organic raw cacao powder which is naturally sweeter than carob or normal cocoa powder (my agave and coconut oil happened to be organic too). Basically you mix all the ingredients together and then flatten it out and freeze it. Then you can cut the chocolate up into whatever size bits you want.
Let me tell you, it was fantastic. Even Josh was devouring it! And you don't need to feel as guilty as if you were eating a chocolate bar. If you have it in moderation you don't need to feel guilty at all! It was so easy as well.
I plan on making another batch and having a taste tester at work next Tuesday (our big discount day so it gets really busy).
If you want the recipe go here.
This is an unprofessional, unquality photo of how mine looked - you can still see the deliciousness though!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Looking After Your Biggest Organ.

When I was in my young teenage years getting all the unsightly skin problems normal teenagers do, it seemed like it was all about what product you were using on your face. Cleanser? Toner? Moisturiser? Night Cream? Blemish Control Gel? And if you didn't use them all then 'no wonder you have pimples!'

Now that makes me cringe. I've developed more ideas as to what makes 'healthy skin', and lathering your skin with chemicals twice a day isn't on the list. Good hygiene is important but to get great, healthy skin you need to work from the inside out.

Obviously hormones play the major role in acne during teenage years (and no blemish control stick will bring hormones under control). Teenagers with severe acne usually have an excess of androgen hormones, and an effective, natural androgen modulator is a combination of licorice and peony which you could get from anywhere with a herbal dispensary.

There are two main treatments for severe acne from GP's; Roaccutane and the pill (with included cyproterone acetate). Roaccutane is not something that I would ever want to ingest, one of those medications that falls into the category of their side effects being worse than what they were used to treat in the first place. None the less, I will say that it is effective.

In my opinion, you can control your skin (in teenage years and later on down the track) almost entirely with diet. Here are a few things from a naturopathic perspective to keep in mind when trying to achieve healthy looking skin:

-Keep a low GI diet. A low glycaemic index diet has been proven to reduce acne (even in teenagers with raging hormones).

-Drink 2L of water a day, helping to flush out potential toxins and to help your skin from drying out (also see below essential fatty acids).

-Consume antioxidants (like green tea, berries, sprouts). In your average 'night cream', they will usually put in some vitamin E as an antioxidant so they can claim anti-aging benefits. Antioxidants work just as well (even better) coming from the inside and will help to reduce wrinkle onset.

-Put some chlorophyll in your water - also great for eliminating toxins on a day to day basis.

-Don't eat greasy deep fried foods. Josh says that every time he eats KFC he will get a pimple, no exception. It's not really surprising, as eating oily foods will increase the amount of free fatty acids circulating the system (and subsequently coming out your sebaceous glands).

-Include essential fatty acids in your diet. Now this just gets confusing, because I just told you not to have oily foods, now I'm saying DO have oily foods. The difference is the type of oil. Really basically, if your sebaceous glands make sebum (the natural skin oil) with the type of oil that they get from say, deep fried foods, it can irritate the skin. If they produce the sebum with the type of oil they get from things like salmon, linseeds and olives, then it will have a calming effect on the skin. As a supplemental essential fatty acid I like Udo's 3-6-9 Blend.

-Get sweaty! Exercising (or alternatively, hanging out in a sauna a few times a week) is great for the skin because you sweat out all the toxins that can be held in the skin. But remember to drink extra water if you do this.

As far as using products goes, I always wash my face with a face washer, and about 3 times a week I use a natural cleanser on it. If I notice that I'm getting a bit of dry skin I'll also use a natural exfolliant. For moisturiser I use pure organic rose hip oil which I absolutely love, but I know that not everyone can get away with putting straight oil on their skin, it's just that mine tends towards dry rather than oily.

I would say that if you have 'problem skin' and followed everything I've mentioned above pretty strictly, I could almost guarantee you will see a difference in your skin.


Monday, May 23, 2011

I Can Smell Like Daisies If I Want To.

I was browsing the internet recently and found an interesting article on chemicals used in perfumes, which I found intriguing because it's something I don't normally think about, even though I use other natural hair and skincare. I don't wear perfume everyday (more like once a week). but when I do I spray without thinking.
Maybe it's because perfumes don't list their ingredients so it's 'out of sight out of mind'. Maybe it's because you very rarely see perfumes labelled 'natural ingredients', so there isn't an obvious choice between the two.

Bur honestly, what ISN'T bad for you?? I feel like if we did absolutely everything 'right' our quality of life, whilst we'd be healthy and chemical free, would be impaired. Obviously we can't all live in grass huts and survive off whatever is growing or moving in the back yard.

So then you reach a point, where it gets to All the fun things in life vs being healthy and setting yourself up for reaching old age without having cancer or dementia or auto-immune diseases or anything else unsightly.

By now you might be thinking, holy moley it's only perfume!

But for me it's all about compromising. Where I can make something better in my life and not feel like I'm missing out, I will. Like using natural cleaning products. But when something I like has bad aspects (like perfume or nail polish, all the fun girly things), I figure that I've changed other things in my life enough that they can compensate for the bright red fingernails.


Friday, May 20, 2011


I am writing this blog in the last 1.5 hours of being a participant of Live Below the Line and living off $2 of food for 5 days. My diet has consisted of plain oats with water for breakfast, rice with sweet potato and a small apple for lunch, barley, lentils and split peas for dinner and 2 green teas a day. Surprisingly (for me) I haven't been hungry, but I have been craving so much junk food, not because I need it, but because... well... I'm actually not sure why, but I think it's because once you take something away from someone, even if they didn't really need it in the first place, it makes them want it more.

The food I've been eating has tasted really bland, and I find myself eating not for enjoyment but for satiety. That made me think how much I really centre my life around food (to which anyone who knows me well can attest) and eating for pleasure, so to speak.

I can't say that I've enjoyed the last 5 days, but I will say that it has taught me a lesson that I'm going to try to keep with me.

When eating meals alone, try to keep it simple, nutritious and well proportioned. Eat for the vitamins, minerals and energy. Save the extravagant meals for when you're dining out or having friends over for a meal.

Know when you are hungry and when you're eating just for the sake of it.

At 7pm, I will be allowed to again eat whatever I want, but instead of having a big feast (which I am tempted to do, trust me), I'm going to break my diet with a simple cup of tea and a biscuit. And then dinner. But I will be trying not to undo the focus that I've been able to have for the last 5 days.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Don't Worry, Be Happy.

I've always associated happiness with healthiness. This doesn't mean that if you're healthy, you're happy or vice versa, but that happiness is a component of being healthy. If I'm not happy, I don't feel like I'm healthy.

It comes down to more than that though. If you aren't happy (as in, happy in your current life, not hung up on jealousy, having a positive outlook...etc), it can influence you to make bad 'health' choices. We've all heard of comfort food, right?

Stress causes many health issues. On a larger scale, it can be attributed to quite serious conditions such as stomach ulcers and heart attacks. On a scale more close to home, it can cause headaches, fatigue, digestive symptoms (even symptoms similar to IBS) and a low-functioning immune system.

It's all very well to say stress causes all these things, but it's not like you can say 'avoid stress', like it's as easy as avoiding dairy or eggs.

We are all exposed to stress and stressful situations (for the moment I'm talking more mentally than physically). It isn't 'who has the least stressful life', it is 'who deals with their stress the best'?

Meditation can sound like a 'hippy word', but it can be as simple as being aware of your own thoughts and trying to channel them into calm, positive thoughts. When you find yourself obsessing and worrying over an assignment, an argument with someone or a deadline you need to reach, STOP. Take a deep breath. Ask yourself, 'what can I do about it?'. If the answer is nothing, then move on. What is the point of it taking up your time?

If you can think of something you can do to make the problem better, then do it! Work calmly towards your goal and know that you can achieve it. More ways of coping with stress can be found here, I would write about them but it's all been written before, by people who can tell you more than I can.

Enjoy yourself.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Helping You Help Yourself.

We are living in an age where we have the advantage of having access to lots (and lots and lots) of information. I've come across a lot of customers who have an issue, let's say IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Google it, then come in with a big list of everything under sun that might help IBS symptoms and they want it all. Then it comes to quite a lot of (mostly unnecessary) money.
I've also had customers who have Googled their symptoms and have become quite panicked about what they may (or usually may not) have.
I'm not saying don't search for your own information. I'm saying take everything with a grain of salt (so to speak), and don't rely solely on what you find. Do your own research, then consult with someone who knows what they're talking about. Here are a few tips I'd give for people trying to self diagnose and prescribe.

1. If it's hard to get, it's for a reason.
I had a lady come in once for deer sinew because she read that it might help arthritis. No joke. Deer sinew. No I've never heard of it, I've never seen it in a shop, and my opinion is that if it really worked and was a sustainable form of medication then it would probably be readily available by now.

2. If you want to be frugal, be frugal.
If you don't want to pay money for a doctor, naturopath, dietitian etc then use the free ones. Health food shops will often have naturopaths (like me), pharmacies have pharmacists, you can call hotlines now that tell you if you should be worried. Use these as well as your own research.

3. Look at evidence based, reputable websites.

4. Don't watch A Current Affair or Today Tonight. If you see 'natural' medications/supplements on these shows, keep in mind it is a paid for advertisement. Not a news story. We always get a rush on things that have been advertised. Lately we've had one you might have heard of, called The Latin Seed (for weight loss). I agreed to an over-the-phone training, and it sounded like such a scam. We stocked it because people kept asking for it, but when directly asked I would tell customers to try something different, not wanting to recommend it and have bad repercussions as a naturopath. About 2 months later it was recalled because the statements they were claiming were not approved by the TGA and were found to be untrue.

5. Get a second opinion.
Like the lady who wanted the deer sinew, some people cannot be swayed from what they want to try. Just keep an open mind.

6. Know where your supplements/medication comes from.
This probably doesn't belong in this post, but I think people can forget sometimes what they are actually putting in their mouth. We source a lot from animals, and not always humanely. Sheep placenta tablets are popular in Asia for anti-aging. HRT (hormone replacement therapy) comes from the urine of pregnant horses. Glucosamine is from shellfish. To make emu oil (used for arthritis), emus have to die.


Friday, May 6, 2011

The Blacklist

This post is pretty much the opposite of Top Ten Healthfoods as now I'm going to write my 'blacklist'. Not necessarily foods, but things I really try to avoid. I'm usually not 100% successful in avoiding them completely but I do my best.

1. Artificial sweeteners
I would rather have the calories of normal sugar than ingest things like Equal and Sweet Low or whatever they're called. There's quite a lot of varying research in regards to cancer and artificial sweeteners, so some things will tell you they are safe and others will tell you the opposite. So to be safe, I don't touch them.

2. Cigarettes
Everything has already been said about this topic: get off the durries.

3. Caffeine loaded energy drinks
We're talking Mother, RedBull, V... that's all I can think of off the top of my head but there is so many more. There is a small place for them (like shift workers trying to stay awake) where their use isn't so bad. But they market towards young teenagers who really don't need them and drink them to excess. Like the 750ml can, sold in the drinks fridge with all the other single serve drinks, yet it says in small print on the back not to consume over 500ml a day.

4. Nutrigrain
Okay so Nutrigrain isn't that bad. What I don't like is how they market themselves as iron man food. It has a glycaemic index of 66 (which is moderate, bordering on high), so if eaten like it is supposed to be eaten, as a breakfast cereal, then how is that going to sustain any iron man for the day? They just get hungry again 20 minutes later.
I would use Nutrigrain like a lolly; it's high in sugar but it has got some nutrition to it like protein and iron.

5. Coke
Loaded with sugar. Erosive. Insanely fizzy. Nope.

6. Chewing gum
Again, not something that's really bad, but I just don't see any point to it. You start chewing, your stomach thinks there is some food coming so it starts secreting more acid, but nothing ever comes to neutralise the acid.

7. Glen 20 and the like
That ad makes me cringe, where the lady is spraying Glen20 all over everything. Germs are not necessarily the bad guys! But the ones who ARE the bad guys are going to be in that .1% that don't get killed by the spray, then because they don't have to fight against all the other germs you've just killed, they thrive. If you want to be hygienic, wash your hands.

8. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and derivatives (SLS, SLES)
This is found in basically anything that is supposed to 'clean', from toothpaste to engine degreaser. I'm fairly sure the current, unbiased literature puts its safe use at around 1-2% (as an ingredient of something). Most commercial shampoos are around 20-30% SLS.

That's all I can think of for now, feel free to add any others you might think of.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Buff on a Budget

Josh (the partner), on reading my blog on motivation, came up with the idea that I 'coach' him into getting buff and blog about it. Killing two birds with one stone, he says.
So I say, 'that means you would have to do everything I say'. He pretty much agreed.

I'm not the most knowledgeable when it comes to personal training but seeing as that's what I want to do next then it will be good to get some practise. Buff on a Budget is a structure I've made up of 5 x 30 minute sessions a week, without buying weights or going to the gym or any fancy supplements (only whey protein concentrate powder).

Last night I took some measurements like biceps, forearms and manboobs and recorded them, so each fortnight we will re-measure and see if we've gotten anywhere.

Tonight was our first training session. It involved high intensity interval training (HIIT) using mountain climbers, burpees, and boxing bag (which we already had at home). We also did weighted sit ups, push ups, chair lifts and reverse crunches. The sit ups and push ups he did as many as he could in a minute, which was 16 and 12 respectively, so he obviously has a long way to go.

We'll keep you posted on progress!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Top Ten Healthfoods

Here is a list of my top ten healthfoods, meaning foods that can better your health or are good replacement foods for more unhealthier options. Obviously, this is very subjective, but from working in a healthfood shop I learn a lot about all our different items, and these ones tend to stick out.
In no particular order except for number one because number one is definitely my favourite:

1. Spirulina
I am in love with spirulina. Some people might argue that this is a supplement rather than a healthfood, but I've learnt to treat spirulina like a food, even though it's in tablet form. Spirulina is a micro-algae that grows in salt water. I have been taking it as a multivitamin for around a year now. It basically has a bit of everything except vitamin C (that a multi would have). Maybe not in as large quantities, but spirulina is easier for the body to absorb than a multi. It's pure, it's particularly loaded with calcium, betacarotene and iron - it raised my haemoglobin levels from 135 to 150g/L. In the powder form, it's a great food for fussy kids who won't eat their vegetables (to get some nutrition into them) - you just have to hide it in a smoothie.

2. Pumpkin Seeds
So, it's snack time and you're deciding what to munch on to see you through to the next meal. Do you think it would be better to have something with 'empty calories' (meaning all calories and no real nutrition) like a donut, or something that is 'nutrient dense', so fewer calories with lots of vitamins or minerals, like pumpkin seeds, which not only are high in manganese, magnesium, tryptophan, protein and zinc (to name a few) but are also alkalysing and low GI. Basically, they tick all the boxes.

3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is like that crazy relative that everyone has and you can never work out whether you love them or hate them. It's gone through some bad press in the last 40 years, but it's onto a good streak again, being recognised as the most heat stable of oils. This means that when you cook with it, it doesn't ruin the structure and you're not consuming oxidised molecules. You can use it in place of butter in baking to make it a little bit healthier. It actually has a lot of health benefits as well - check this website out for more info.

4. Quinoa
Quinoa is the latest (yet ancient) fad to come out of South America. It is a grain (also gluten free, which = handy) which is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It is relatively low GI (51) and tastes great. You can use it like rice or even like porridge for brekkie.

5. Rapadura Sugar
I wouldn't say that Rapadura sugar is healthy, but it is an excellent alternative to white sugar, which is one of those empty calorie foods we talked about earlier. Just look at the nutrition panel of white sugar and it is 0g of everything except energy. Rapadura sugar still has high energy levels but has the nutrients as well. It is the dried evaporated cane juice of the sugar cane plant, so it is also less processed than white sugar (which isn't hard to achieve). It tastes great, it has a real caramel flavour and you can use it exactly as you would use white sugar.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Digestive issues? Start taking a shot of apple cider vinegar in the mornings (watered down a bit though). It's really alkalysing, it stimulates the secretion of your gastric acid and digestive enzymes, so it helps you digest your food properly.

7. Green Tea
I remember when I first tried green tea when I was 16 and thought it tasted like cigar ash (not that I've eaten that though). Since then it's grown on me and I have it all the time at work for morning and afternoon tea. It's really high in antioxidants, and has had a lot of research done in regards to health benefits, and has come up trumps in lots of different areas, including anti-cancer, treating cardiovascular issues and weight loss.

8. Lentils
People think lentils, think vegetarians, then because they are meat-eaters they don't touch the lentils. Well, you don't have to be a vegetarian to eat a vegetarian meal. Lentils are a great source of protein and amino acids and can be made into the feature of a meal. They also have a lot less saturated fat than meat.

9. Himalayan Crystal Salt
This is another replacement food, and is so much better to use than table salt. This salt actually has health benefits, rather than disadvantages. That said, it's something you still use in moderation. During my naturopathy education we were taught that salt is an essential nutrient, it's just that we eat way too much of it. There is a school of thought that believes we need absolutely no salt in our diet, as a very opinionated customer tried to tell me the other day, but that's not my line of thinking. Check this website out for more info.

10. Psyllium
There's nothing like being regular. Psyllium is high in soluble fibre and increases the bulk of a stool. If you eat it and don't drink enough water, you won't go to the toilet at all. Okay that is an overstatement but there's some truth in it. Taken properly, it's great for bowel regulation and maintaining the integrity of your bowel walls as well. It's the main ingredient in Metamucil and other fibre supplements.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mind, Body & Happiness

If you are anything like me and have no more self control than a mosquito to a lantern, you might have over-consumed over the Easter period. This isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I believe entirely in having a healthy mind and a healthy body, and sometimes what makes a healthy mind doesn't make a healthy body. But it's okay to indulge in moderation. How happy would you be turning down everything vaguely unhealthy 100% of the time? Easter, Christmas, birthdays, parties?

It's about having the motivation and control to know when it's not going to make you feel any happier having that second helping of dessert, but rather it's going to make you feel unhappy because you knew you didn't need it.

After times like Easter it's sometimes good to have something like a mini detox to get you back on track again. Even if that just involves doing that little bit more exercise than usual or tweaking your diet for a few days (eg avoiding anything processed).

Looking after your mind and maintaining a positive attitude will help you achieve your health goals, but try to have the things that make you happy but aren't necessarily good for your health (like chocolate) only in moderation.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Magic Fountain

The Fountain of Youth.
A magical, mythical fountain of water that, once you have bathed in or drank some of it's glorious H2O, all your illnesses will disappear and it will restore your youth and lead to an abnormally long life.

Is there a moral to this story? Yes!

We hear all the time that we should drink at least 2 litres of water a day. How many of us do it? Answer this question now, how many days in the past week have you drank at least 2 litres of pure water? If the answer is 7, then good on you, you can stop reading this post now.

I think that people get lazy with their water intake because you don't consciously notice any side effects of low water intake straight away. Fluid retention, headaches, tiredness, constipation, bad skin - these can all happen when you don't drink enough water, but you don't always attribute them to dehydration.

This is getting into a bit of speculation here, but I know a handful of people who look a lot younger than they are (almost perfect skin). I said this to someone once, and she said, it's water - I drink HEAPS of water. And now I think back and all the other people who I think have aged well are big water drinkers also. Coincidence?

Anyway so we all know it's good, we just have to put in the effort to drink more. I found that having 500ml of water with breakfast makes it easier to reach 2L throughout the day because I can just fill up my 1.5L drink bottle and if I can finish that then great, I'm good for the day.

You can do it!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking.

I've been trying to decide what is the most important thing when it comes to achieving a healthy lifestyle. And what I've come up with is this:


Have you been lying in bed, sitting on the toilet, driving, brushing your teeth, in the shower or standing on the scales, and thought, RIGHT. This is it. Then you mentally make a list of all these things you're going to do and how life is going to be oh so much better and you're excited to really start living. Then a few days, a week, a month later you can hardly remember that random burst of inspiration and you are back into your old habits.

These random bursts of inspiration are usually triggered by something; you've read a good biography, seen a motivational speaker, been to a funeral, had a near death experience...

What you need to do, before making any changes to your lifestyle, is work out what motivates you and how you can remain motivated for long periods of time. Definitely easier said than done, but I'm going to list a few ways that can help.

1. Inspirational quotes. Be one of those daggy people that print them out and stick them somewhere in the house. Change it semi-regularly so you don't get tired of it. I found one I like:
"First say to yourself what you would be, then do what you have to do." - Epictetus.

2. Look at your family medical history. This is interesting and in my opinion not enough of us actually spare this enough thought. If there are hereditary conditions that you can lower your chances of getting, that can be a big motivational factor. It's too late when you're 60 and think, I should have done more when I was younger. Especially with weight-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolaemia, hypertension, arthritis (these are not necessarily caused by obesity though, I might add).

3. Get a health buddy! If you have a friend who is also keen on living healthier, have regular catch-ups and see where you each have gotten since you last talked.

4. Set goals. We hear this all the time, but that feeling of smashing your PB is a real rush. It helps to have lots of little goals, with a few big ones on the horizon. I remember when I used to run a particular route around home that had lots of hills around it, and I would always walk up the hills. The first time I made it home without stopping to walk I was so happy, and so motivated to take it further.

5. At the end of each day, ask yourself, has this been a good day? Not in terms of what you can't control, like the weather or someone getting you down, but more 'are you happy with the choices you made today'?

6. Give yourself presents as a reward, but don't use what you've been trying to avoid. Eg, don't think 'I've been eating well all week so today I'm going to treat myself and have McDonalds'. Keep your rewards healthy like a massage or a little shopping spree.

Obviously, everyone is different, but believe in yourself, believe in what you want to achieve and you will achieve it. Positive thinking is a powerful tool and you should use it each and every day.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

So What Is It?

New acquaintance "So do you go to uni?"

Me: "No, I'm actually a naturopath."

New acquaintance: "Ah... what is that?"

Good question!

I just googled 'naturopath definition' and the definition that automatically came up was:
'A system of alternative medicine based on the theory that diseases can be treated or prevented without drugs by techniques such as diet and exercise.'

That's relatively accurate, but very simplified. I think that naturopathy is interpreted differently by each practitioner or client. I'm going to try to sum up what naturopathy is for me.

I help clients identify which foods are rich in particular macro or micro nutrients to benefit their specific situation.
I discuss diet, food replacement and I write out diet plans or recipes.
I use herbs, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and bacteria to treat, prevent or contain illnesses.
I advise clients on what products to use on their skin and around their home.

To be honest, most things that I use as tools of the trade are scientifically researched, but not to the extent of pharmaceutical drugs.

I try to help people help themselves. I believe that prevention is the best treatment. The best form of prevention is to lead 'a healthy life'. Easier said than done. In subsequent posts I'm hoping to outline some ways to help you start being the healthiest version of yourself.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Shake it up Baby.

Smoothies. Become a fan.

I love smoothies. You can read all about them all over the net but I'm just going to give you a few reasons why I think they are great.

1. You can use them like a meal replacement. I don't usually like using the 'meal replacement' term because it brings to mind images of certain money-grabbing brands where you 'have 2 shakes a day and a palm full of protein and you'll lose weight', but when you make a good smoothie, it is often nutritionally better than what you might have chosen for a meal (obviously, depending on what you would have chosen).

2. They are fun to make! Add a bit of this, a bit of that and you have a power packed drink.

3. No grains necessary! How many meals a day do you include some form of grain? Because a lot of the time you find yourself saying, 'well, all of them'. Not that grains are the devil, but everything in moderation.

4. You can include your supplements in a smoothie without having to take lots of tablets.

So in the picture I've shown you what I've been using lately. I'll give you a quick recipe:
1/2 cup coconut water
1/2 cup Elgaar Farm Organic Fat Free Milk (yum!)
1-2 tablespoons 100% pure whey protein concentrate (from dairy not soy)
1/4 teaspoon Lifestream calcium powder (which you can also cook with because it's heat stable)
1/2 teaspoon Hawaiian spirulina powder (only a little or it tastes like a fish tank)
1 chopped banana
1 teaspoon raw cacao powder

Put everything in a blender and enjoy!

I have my smoothie only after exercise. The function of my smoothie is to provide nutrients (I take no multivitamin), to help muscle recovery after exercise (protein content) and to give me breakfast.
To formulate your smoothie, figure out what function(s) you want it to have and adjust the ingredients from there. Here are some very simple suggestions:

Function : Ingredient
Body building : a big serve of better quality protein (eg whey protein isolate)
Electrolyte balance : coconut water or a good rehydration mix (I like the Endura range - I don't like Powerade/Gatorade with artificial everything)
Anti-aging : green tea powder or acai powder
Fat burning : L-carnitine powder
High fibre (for digestion) : psyllium

There is so much out there to choose from, and it is so much better for you and so much more fun that a couple pieces of toast for breakfast.
Also, you can get almost everything I've mentioned at Go Vita stores ;)