Tag Archives: lifestyle

World Vegan Day

Melbourne is well-known for its shopping, designers and innovative entrepreneurs. Besides having a long overdue break, I was most excited about experiencing the food of this iconic Australian city. It is the cultural hub of our country and I was looking forward to some of that also!

We sure had a good dose of both food and culture on our first day – attending World Vegan Day at the Melbourne Show Grounds (also home to the set of television series ‘MasterChef‘ and their amazing veggie/herb garden). The event was intense, amazing, educational, confronting, sad, crazy…..it was everything crammed under one roof. It was so refreshing to have so many people passionate about our environment, sustainable food sources, and health in the one place. It really had me excited and provided me with a load of inspiration and ideas to bring back and share with everyone up here in the slightly slow (aka backwards) Central Queensland. Don’t get me wrong I am very happy to be raising my young family here and there has been a shift towards healthier living but people up here do not embrace change and the take up of anything new takes a long, looooooonnnnngggg time!

MasterChef Vegetable Garden

 

There is a lot to be said for these events and how surrounding yourself with people who support your ideals and beliefs can influence the conviction you have in your own choices. I often feel a little extreme in my avoidance of grains, dairy, preservatives, chemicals and processed foods because the majority of the people where I live have these things as the staple of their diets. I feel as though I need to justify my choices or that people think I am on some strange fad diet. I am not!  I think that anyone who follows an alternative diet must sometimes feel isolated? Or maybe that is just me? Surely not. People do look at you differently when your children have olives, sardines, cherry tomatoes, spinach, a mango and a coconut flour muffin for lunch. And think my children are ‘odd’ when they hear the latest response to the timely question of what to have for dinner, to which my 2-year-old replied “fish and water”. I loved that this minority group were all together supporting their lifestyle choices and sharing and learning from each other. Not to mention the incredible vegan businesses sharing their delicious creations.

Of the amazing array of food available at the event my absolute favourite was the Vanilla Dream coconut ice-cream I had made by Zebra Dream. It was delicious, thick, creamy and not at all icy and rock hard like other brands of coconut ice-cream I have tried. I was excited to try the Espresso flavour but it was sold out by the time I had worked my way through the crowd. Nevertheless, the Vanilla sure dissipated any disappointment I may have been feeling.

Zebra Dream "Vanilla Dream" Coconut Ice-Cream

The next best thing was being able to order a coffee on almond milk!! Nowhere and I mean nowhere in my town offers this as a dairy alternative and it was delightful to not feel ‘difficult’ when ordering something as simple as coffee.

I fell completely in love with the mason jars from The Raw Food Mum – one of my favourite bloggers! I was so excited to meet her in person and get my hands on a couple of the jars – complete with their own metal straw. They are now used daily and make everything taste that little bit more special.

Cold-Pressed Apple, Carrot and Ginger

So there is a round-up of my first day of adventures. I ventured to many fantastic cafe’s and have picked my favourites to share with you this coming week! If any of you have attended World Vegan Day celebrations what inspired you?

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Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

Well my Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes were a hit at my birthday party, so for my business launch last night I decided that this variation would suit the occasion perfectly!  I think I may have found my signature dessert!

Ingredients (makes 12 cups)

Crust

1 cup macadamias (processed until a mix of small chunks and some flour)

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup pitted dates

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan Pink rock salt

Cheesecake Crust

Cheesecake Layer

3 cups cashews soaked overnight

1/4 – 3/4 cup coconut nectar (I only use a 1/4 cup but think you may like it sweeter than me so just test the cream and add to suit your tastes. You can also use pure maple syrup or raw honey as a substitute)

3/4 cup organic coconut oil

3/4 cup of lemon juice

1 tablespoon organic vanilla essence

Pinch of salt

Cheescake Layer

Raspberry topping

2 cups frozen organic raspberries

1/2 cup pitted dates (soaked in hot water for 15min then drained)

Raspberry Topping

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (c) and line cupcake tray with 12 liners. I bake the base to give a little crunch but this recipe can be raw by simply throwing the base in the freezer to set!

2. Combine crust ingredients and press a large teaspoon of mixture into each liner. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove and let cool.

3. Drain your cashews and place in food processor with other cheesecake topping ingredients and process until creamy. This will take several minutes. Stop and test consistency – should be smooth and light. Spread evenly into each cup and freeze for an hour.

4. For the raspberry topping blend dates with a tablespoon of water to form a paste. Add raspberries and blend, blend, blend, until the consistency of soft sorbet. Spread evenly into each cup and let set in fridge for at least 2 hours!

Enjoy 🙂

Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

The Challenge Begins…..Whole30 in camp

I started a Paleo lifestyle after initially taking up the Whole30 as a challenge with my girlfriend and her training group. I had always been resistant to low-carb diets, actually any diet that eliminated entire food groups, but after reading into it I thought it was worth a shot. The Whole30 is a super strict Paleo diet that eliminates grains, dairy, legumes and artificial flavours/sweeteners but also eliminates natural sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, stevia) and limits fruit and nut intake. Find full details here.

The first week was hell – sugar detox headaches, low energy, cravings for my morning oats and a lot of negativity and irritability. But sure enough, as predicted, I started to feel better in the second week! I wasn’t bloated, I didn’t retain water, the headaches dissipated and my energy levels not only improved but remained more consistent over the course of the day. I was sold and have followed a Paleo diet since.

I will explore my personal Paleo journey in a future post but this one is all about my husband!  As he works away for a month at a time, my lifestyle day-to-day does not have the same impact on him as it would if he was here. He lives in a workers camp on an island and all his food is prepared and served in a dining hall on-site. He has been so supportive of my lifestyle and how I cook and feed our girls but has been hesitant to try it for himself because of the challenges he faces; having no control over his meals on site or access to stores.

But…….the time has come and he is ready to make the change to improve his health! I can hardly contain my excitement. So tomorrow will be Michal’s Day 1 on his first Whole30. As I am a super supportive wife I will be tightening my diet (good-bye maple syrup smothered bacon) and completing this with him.

We have discussed that although he may not be able to control what oil they cook his food in or demand grass-fed organic beef, he can make the best choices available to him. We have planned a rough draft of good food choices including eggs and vegetables for breakfast, meat and salad for lunch and meat and vegetables for dinner. The list of things to steer clear of includes all sauces, sugar, dairy, bread, pasta, rice, oats, beans and white potato. He has a Whole30 cheat sheet, a notebook to record what he has eaten and his phone to call and ask me any questions. I will be keeping you all updated on our little challenge and hope to prove that even in difficult circumstances you can still make healthy choices. You just need to use some creativity and a great deal of discipline to walk past the dessert each night!

I am so proud that he has committed to this and hope that you enjoy his story as it evolves.

Tough Mudder 2013

Tough Mudder 2013

“I Just Don’t Have Time”

I am sure we have all said it before, “I just don’t have time”. The issue with this is that it’s a phrase we use when the truth is “I can’t be bothered”. Before I moved back to Rockhampton in 2011, I said this all the time in regards to what I ate, how often I exercised and what social activities I committed myself too. But the reality was there were people that worked just as much as I did, juggled a family like I did, studied like I did and still managed to look after themselves and have a great social life. Now I hear others say it and wish I could show them just how easy a healthy lifestyle is to follow and how it also makes everything else going on easier to manage.

For those of you that don’t know me personally, I am a mother, a DIDO wife (my husband works away for 4 weeks at a time and is then home for 1 week. At the moment this has been extended to 9 weeks away, 1 week home), I work part-time, I am at University part-time, I run the blog and am trying to start a local business. It is clear that I am time poor, often very stressed and always exhausted!! I made a commitment to myself to ensure that I was the best version of me for myself, my husband and my children and this is what I work towards everyday.

That being said fitting in exercise and preparing all my meals from scratch does take some effort, but not as much as you think. Here is how I make it work. Have a read, take from this what you think could help you and comment with any suggestions you have that could help me or others!

1. Plan your week. I plan my week in half-hour increments from 5am – 11pm on my iphone. The app I use is called Schedule Planner and it basically is my diary/scheduler that I always have handy . It is great and really helps you see where you are wasting precious time.

2. Schedule exercise. Think about what time of the day suits you best. Before work, after work, lunch break or when you have supervision for your children. I use the crèche at my gym from 9-30am-10.30am or jump on the treadmill at home after putting the kids to bed. However I am really a morning person and if my husband was home I would be at the gym at 6am so it was over and done with. Book your sessions and block out your calendar. I guarantee no matter how much you don’t want to go, you will always feel better afterwards!

3. Think differently about food. Creating exotic recipes and experimenting with new ingredients, is great, but it is not necessary. The first thing I ask anyone when they ask me about healthy eating is “What is your favourite home cooked meal?”- Roast and lasagne are common responses. Why do people think these meals are so time consuming? They really are not and they are nutritious & so delicious!

I usually put my roast (lamb, chicken or beef) in a slow-cooker at breakfast. Recipe – dump in a load of vegies, add a dollop of coconut oil or grass-fed ghee, and some stock (I use my own stock) put meat on top and turn to low for 8 hours. Easy? Yes and you have meat for lunch the next few days if you buy a large cut. Here is a delicious roast lamb rack with balsamic vegetables that I made this week in the slow cooker – delicious.

Roast Lamb Rack with Balsamic Vegetables

There are many healthy recipes for Lasagne (as I don’t eat grains/dairy I use eggplant for the sheets and skip the white sauce) so find a recipe that suits you! Then on a Sunday or when you have a couple of hours make a double batch and then wrap and freeze! Easy? Yes! When ready to use pull out and reheat in oven.

Other easy options are steak and salad, fish and steamed veg or bacon, eggs & banana fried up in coconut oil (my favourite lazy meal).

4. Have fun! Life can sometimes seem overwhelming and frankly not very enjoyable. It is important to socialize and live your life doing things you enjoy! So take up that invite for dinner – you need to eat anyway! Laugh, play and do the things you enjoy!

So there are a few tips to help you to adopt a healthy lifestyle. When you do, you will be helping your body, your mind and your relationships as you will be mentally and physically able to give your best in all areas of your life.