REMOVE YOUR EYE MAKEUP UP EASILY WITH THIS NATURAL TRICK!

I have recently gotten into a little bit of beauty alchemy. Don’t get me wrong – I am NO DOMESTIC GODDESS, and I am not the kind of person who avidly denies their kitchen prowess yet whips out her homemade jam with buttermilk scones when unsuspecting guests arrive. ‘Doesn’t everyone make their own rhubarb jam’?

If you are teetering on the fine edge between caring about the chemicals in conventional makeup yet still wed to the smell and feel of your $150 eye cream- read on. I proffer a simple solution that smells divine, is easy to use and won’t tax your sensitive body or your unbalanced bank account.

Yes- I still love a good lick of mascara and eyeliner on my lids but I choose my weapons wisely; opting to part pennies with local companies whose commitment to ethical ingredients both environmentally and chemically are in harmony with my desire to combine the fine art of ‘looking natural’ whilst wearing makeup. A pursuit chased by most girls and when accomplished – a real show stopper.

WIPE AWAY YOUR MASCARA NATURALLY WITH THIS LITTLE TRICK

The art of eye makeup removal without chemicals requires no skill set, nor will you be rubbing mashed banana, avocado or raw eggs into your eyes in the name of ‘natural beauty’.

My go to makeup remover comes in the form of coconut oil.

A staple in my kitchen and now my bathroom for its ability to heal superficial wounds, intensely moisturize the cracked barnacles that are my feet during winter and remove the black liner and mascara I have artfully worn during the day.

Method:

  1. Dip your fingers into your coconut oil jar and rub a very tiny dollop of oil between your fingers to melt it.
  2. Spread the melted oil along your eyelids and eyelashes.
  3. Grab a cotton pad or face mitt and wipe the oil away and watch as your makeup is removed with ease.

And that is honestly it.

Keep in mind that a little oil residue will linger – leave it be – it’s the best anti wrinkle treatment your dermatologist never told you about.

Who says going ‘au natural’ was too hard?

Health to Glow Episode 9- Delicious Delights, Guilt Free Chocolate Mousse!

 

So a while back I ranted on about my Chocolate Ice Cream…I didn’t get a massive vote of confidence from many as the main ingredients was..

AVOCADO…

And I think most people can’t seem to wrap their head around a savoury staple being morphed into a decadent chocolate cream.

Trust me, it’s been done, and it is

a little bit amazing…

Watch Mel and I tackle the EASIEST dish since a cheese toastie and eat half the contents of the food processor…

I implore anyone who manages to snatch a cheap box of avocados to make one big batch and freeze some for later and eat the rest now….

You will thank me.

😉

 

 

TOP 5 REASONS YOU SHOULD STOP ALL THAT CARDIO

The majority of ladies I know want to ‘tone up’ and insist that their previous methods; cutting their food consumption and running a whole lot more is their tool of the trade. I also know straight away that a desire to ‘tone up’ means they are scared of weights.

The only problem with ‘toning up’ is that it requires women to weight train, a notion that unleashes a tirade of excuses as to why using weights will make them HUGE!

Let me tell you- I have been going hard on weights for a little over a year and have only shrunk (albeit not massively as I am a small person) and gained enormous confidence with my bodies capabilities – a sense of confidence that could never have been found running for miles or attending back to back spin classes.

Not only has lifting HEAVY weights affected my day-to-day activities (hello being able to carry home ALL my groceries without a car) but the increased muscle mass means I burn more even at rest. (And subsequently have to eat more…oh the pain!)

And the best way for women to weight train?

Like a man.

Lifting light weights with lots of reps is a sure fire way to not see results.

Without massive amounts of testosterone, and an accompanying male appetite for food, women will only achieve that toned, cellulite-less physique they so constantly crave.

Don’t get me wrong, group classes are great for camaraderie and motivation but it will never beat heavy and intense weight training.

For me, weight training has affected my body, mind and spirit in 5 crucial ways:  (let me know your experience)

1. Creates tangible goals:

When ‘lifting weights’, exercise moves beyond the realms of aesthetic goals and touches upon the desire to outdo our last efforts. Writing and tracking our progression of strength allows us to see how far we have come, the results we have achieved and creates a massive sense of pride and reward. In a competitive world, being able to feel accomplished with your own personal pursuits is so imperative for mental health!

2. I get to be part of the bro club at the gym.

Which is dam intimidating but so satisfying once you start to blend in with the crowd. Furthermore, training with weights enters you into a wonderful community. Just like when my dad, a proud panel van driver, drives past a fellow sandman and toots his horn, so to can you feel part of something and connect with strangers. And given our propensity to live our friendships online who doesn’t love a good bit of social interaction with a random.

3. It is proven to boost your self esteem. 

There are quite a few studies that show how a weight training program can help those with eating disorders normalize their eating patterns and in doing so, gain confidence in their ability to ‘let go’ of food anxieties.

4. Weight training requires patience. And being part of a generation who wants change yesterday, cultivating a realisation that change doesn’t happen overnight and requires hard work is vital in reinvigorating a more realistic mindset on achieving goals.

5. It makes you smarter! There is quite a bit of research that demonstrates the correlations between exercise and mental cognition. The theory being that the increased blood flow to the brain enhances clarity and concentration.

So to all my female readers, and there are a few, start lifting heavy, stop running to shed fat and reap the benefits of stronger bones, a ‘toned’ tush and an astronomically faster metabolism.

..let me know what you guys thinks. Does the weights section scare you? Do you find you are addicted to the high that jogging/spin classes gives you?

Chia Seed Jam – or a cheats version of the sweet stuff!

 

 I love a little kitchen experimenting – particularly when working with novel ingredients with unusual abilities.

I will explain.

First things first- you don’t NEED to buy lots of novel ingredients in order to live a nourished life. Indeed gimmicky foods with high price tags have usually got large marketing bucks behind them, compelling us to buy into a certain form of health.

That being said, when I was given a bag of chia seeds , I wasn’t going to waste them and I also knew that these mini seeds had an array of benefits.

My Top Three FAVOURITE things about chia:

– Chia seeds have the highest levels of omega-3 fats out of any other plant source.

– 100g of chia has as much calcium as two cups of milk (that being said, 100g of chia seeds is ALOT!) still…it puts it into perspective!

–  Chia seeds are also a high source of dietary fibre. 

In reference to chia’s unusual abilities – I find it rather novel that it jells up in minutes if added to water. 

And it got me thinking about how I could use it.

Where most people suggest, just adding it to cereal.

I question ones ability to actually digest microscopic seeds.

Which is why I turned it into a fruity jelly concoction of sorts.

ANd named it JAM.

And served it to unknowing guests who were none the wiser.

And it went down without question.

I’d go as far to say that it went down rather well.

So without further ado – here is a chia jam recipe, sweetened with stevia, full of fibre, nourishing fats and a dash of vanilla powder, because it tastes so good.

CHIA JAM

Ingredients:

3 cups raspberries

1 tsp of Liquid Stevia

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 tsp pure vanilla powder (Loving Earth has a beautiful one! )

 

1. In a pot, bring the raspberries and stevia to a low simmer. Stir frequently to prevent the raspberries from sticking to the bottom of the pan and simmer for a few minutes until fruit has softened. Lightly mash the raspberries with a fork. Feel free to leave a few lumps for texture. Up to you.

2. Turn off the heat and stir in the chia seeds and vanilla powder. Leave the pot and let sit for 20 minutes. The jam should naturally thicken. If you are feeding fussy kids, blitz the mixture with a stick blender.

3. Once the jam is thick- taste to ensure you like the sweetness then place in an old jam jar and whack it in the fridge. I love this over my home made buckwheat bread or straight up with a spoon! The jam should keep for at least a week in your fridge.

Next time, I think I will try making some ginger and apple jam….YUM!

 

Health to Glow Episode 8- What’s in YOUR Basket?

It’s Monday…sigh….

…here is a little video to add to your procrastination routine. 

Last week, Melissa and I roamed the Bondi Farmers Markets, making fools of ourselves and catching up with the local farmers. (Oh the novelty of finally saying my friend is a farmer)

Whilst there, we ran into good friend of ours Lee Holmes from Supercharged Food. After a catch up in the warm winter sun Lee showed us what was in her shopping basket. Or rather, we tore it from her and had a good sticky beak!

Check out the video above to see how this health guru eats.

Tell us below in the comments what is one veggie you always get on your shopping tip?

Mine is a few heads of broccoli and a good cos lettuce!

Melissa always gets kale and leafy greens.

What’s  yours?

What’s the ‘healthiest’ way to eat MEAT? + a recipe!

I am all for cooking up an ample carcass of protein and gelatinous bone goodness, (cue the smell of lamb shanks, osso buco and roast chicken to name but a few) but in this contemporary state I am in at the moment (you too? Get out!) Sometimes slow cooking meat on the bone isn’t feasible

especially when you get home and you want dinner stat.

This is where my creativity with chicken breasts is put to work – like most Australians (I recall Masterchef stated we ate 45kg per person per YR!) I find chicken massively convenient and easy to impart well-known flavors upon. My main priority when cooking meat in a hurry, is to ensure I cook it without charring it to within an inch of its life.

Barbequing on the whole isn’t the best method of meat consumption every day– as the very nature of ‘charring’ your meat produces cancerous Hydrocarbons and Amines that cause massive oxidative stress on your body. That being said- I will NEVER say no to a good barbecue. How UN- Australian 😉

In order to combat any worries of potential ‘cancer causing’ agents- I get my hands dirty.

Really dirty.

And massage my meat with an awesome marinade.

…marinating not only boosts flavor but also reduces the formation of these Amines and Hydrocarbons – quite significantly.

Interestingly some scientists at the Food Safety Consortium project at Kansas State University have discovered that herbs of the Lamiaceae family (Basil, Mint, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, and Sage) used in marinades reduced the formation of free radicals rather well.

So when it comes to quick meat dishes in a flash here are

3 RULES

1.  Marinade– Delicious and easiest way to avoid cancer-causing compounds. Some research even shows that marinating for 30 minutes can reduce the formation of these compounds by 90%!

2. Lean Protein Cuts – Cuts of meat with less fat are less likely to drip fat and flare the BBQ flames all over your juicy steak.

3. Don’t burn the S*&t out of your meat – tone it down please.

And with that said – here is my chicken marinade, using turmeric, the humble spice with amazing anti-inflammatory properties and even shown by the Cancer Research Centre in Hawaii to reduce cancer causing Amines by a half!

… for an extra side of delicious, my peanut free satay sauce. One word. YUM.

Chicken Marinade INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 tablespoons tamari

1 1/2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric

2 garlic cloves, crushed

500gm Chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

METHOD

Mix your marinade ingredients together and rub into your chicken breast

Let stand for 30 minutes or overnight

Heat up your pan with some coconut oil and over low heat, cook your chicken until done!

Satay Sauce INGREDIENTS

2 cm piece fresh ginger, chopped

1 brown onion, chopped

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon macadamia or coconut oil

1 teaspoon good quality curry powder

1 tablespoon tamari sauce

¼ cup almond butter or tahini

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 teaspoon stevia (or 2 teaspoons of honey)

1 cup coconut milk

METHOD

Process together the ginger, onion and garlic in a mini food processor.

In a pan on low heat, fry the above mixture in coconut oil for a few minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add curry powder and tamari and stir well before adding almond butter, stevia and chilli flakes.

Add coconut milk to almond sauce and stir thoroughly until the sauce is smooth. Cook on low heat for 2 minutes – remove from heat and serve with your chicken!

Don’t forget some veggies. 😉

 

Are Organics Better for You?

Up until recently I was hell bent on buying Organics. Yes – I had heard that organic produce wasn’t particularly more nutritious than its conventional counterpart, but I was simply selfish and didn’t want to ingest toxins. Note that I see the irony with living in the city and wishing to eat ‘natural and clean’ vegetables. My best bet to reduce toxic exposure would be to up and move to the country. But clearly that isn’t going to happen.

Given the amount of ‘greenwashing’ that can and does occur in a billion dollar organic industry – how do I know what I buy is really as ‘pure’ as I am lead to believe. Are organic pesticides safe for the environment and me? And further to the point – what is an organic pesticide?

Query One: Are Organic Pesticides environmentally friendly?

No.

Sorry.

What you need to realise is that a pesticide is a poison – whether you like it or not. Yes- I would prefer my pesticide to be from the earth rather than a laboratory coat – but either way it kills pests.

A recent study at the University of Guelph revealed that some organic pesticides had a heavier environmental impact than their conventional counterpart. Environmental Science Professor Rebecca Hallett compared the effectiveness and environmental impact of organic pesticides to those of conventional pesticides.

“The consumer demand for organic products is increasing partly because of a concern for the environment,” said Hallett. “But it’s too simplistic to say that because it’s organic it’s better for the environment. Organic growers are permitted to use pesticides that are of natural origin and in some cases these organic pesticides can have higher environmental impacts than synthetic pesticides often because they have to be used in large doses.”

If we take a look at the toxicity level of synthetic vs. organic pesticides the results are quite eye opening. All poisons that are presented in pesticides are rated on an Environmental Impact Quotient. These pesticides are examined on their level of toxicity or rather what they will kill/hurt.

Below is a table of common pesticides according to the EIQ:

Bt (organic) 13.5
Acephate (synthetic) 17.9
Soap (organic) 19.5
Carbaryl (synthetic) 22.6
Malathion (synthetic) 23.2
Rotenone (organic) 33.0
Sabadilla (organic) 35.6

As is apparent – some of the organic pesticides are more toxic than the synthetic ones.

Unfortunately in this era of ‘toxins’ there will never be a 100% safe pesticide. All pesticides, regardless of source have their dangers. Given the amount of food that needs to be created to fuel a growing population, suggesting that we revert to cleaner insecticides isn’t feasible overnight.

So, while I am all for supporting an industry that is vital to awakening our health and environmental conscience, I fear that people get so carried away with the notion of organics that the true value of food and where its sourced may be lost in the search for ‘toxin free’.

Perhaps the true determiner for nutrient content in your food is where it came from. How long has that tomato been out of the ground before you ate it? A lot of the produce you buy in chain stores has been grown miles away (asparagus from Chile was my recent find). In fact, according to the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies, a typical Australian food basket has travelled roughly 70,000km – this is like travelling around Australia’s coastline three times! Your produce then sits on the shelf for a week or so, which is a no brainer when it comes to nutrient deterioration.

When produce isn’t exposed to light, its nutrient value declines. Now if you think of your supermarket veggie, which was picked a week ago transported to your supermarket in a dark truck cabin, wacked into a display in amongst other veggies, then stored in the dark recess of your bottom fridge drawer for a few days, it is more than likely your poor little veggies don’t stand a chance when it comes to maximum nutrition.

SO after all this – where to get veggies and fruits?

The markets – those beautiful local gatherings – where the stall owners have woken up in the wee hours of their weekend morning in order to sell to you fresh picked veggies from their own farm.  This produce has usually been picked within the last two or three days and is as close to fresh as you can get.

Community food markets, moreover, promote a thorough understanding of food production and consumption. How did that steamed broccoli and side of roasted potatoes get on your plate? Buying your food locally strengthens local economy, protects precious farmland and increases the ability for farmers to continue their means of work – often a business that has been handed down from generation to generation. Choosing to buy local means your food has travelled less and YOU have personally made a small step in decreasing fossil fuel emissions

Above and beyond this, I have also found that I have managed to cultivate BEAUTIFUL relationships with the growers of MY FOOD. Instilling within me a great bond and sense of community. In a world of Facebook and twitter devoid of meaningful connection, this is one of the closest toxic free relationships I can find!

Health to Glow Episode 7 – SWAP Supermarkets for Farmers Markets!

One of the best things you can do for your health is start shopping at your local farmers market. Not only will this guarantee you and your family are getting the freshest produce possible, but also the best quality. Fresh fruit and vegetables sans the chemicals….sounds good to me!

Join Mel and I as we introduce you to the beautiful Happy and Kath from Field to Feast, as they talk passionately about chemical free produce and the importance of buying straight from the farmer, not the supermarket!

We challenge you to do your shopping this week at the farmers market!

Go on, we dare you….

P.S Stay tuned for my blog post this WEDNESDAY regarding Organic produce…is it all that it is hyped up to be? Watch the VIDEO and I will tell all this Wednesday. x

To Salt or Not to Salt

 

Salt is one of those suspect food ingredients, relegated by most health conscious foodies as unnecessary and ultimately ‘unhealthy’.  But even while superfood evangelists are screaming “get away from that shaker” we can’t forget that salt has an important role to play in the body.It keeps our electrolyte balance under control, assists our body in absorbing food, is a natural antihistamine and stabilizes blood sugar. Little wonder then, that traditional cultures used proper sea salt liberally in their cuisine.

Like most food now days, we need to respect the quality of the source before we can judge its nutritional value.

Refined white salt, that necessary evil perching on most dinner tables has been stripped of its trace minerals; having been refined and bleached (nothing like a good peroxide treatment on your food) to leave sodium chloride only.

Often, to make the salt pourable and easy to use, anti-caking agents are added that are invariably aluminum based, adding to our heavy metal toxic load. The final added ingredient is sodium acetate, which has been associated with increased blood pressure and water retention. Not to point fingers but this is the compound that sends people frantically removing salt from their diet.

Sodium chloride is everywhere in packaged foods, so once again, try to eat fresh so you can control the amount of refined salt you are consuming.

For those keen to add taste into their food, ergo pretty much everyone, start to look for sea salt that has been air dried. Air drying ensures the minerals are all still relatively intact.

If you are confused, just have a look at the colour, the salt should be slightly gray or even pink in colour.

I personally buy Celtic Sea Salt or unprocessed New Zealand Sea Salt and add it to my food after cooking for an additional mineral boost. Otherwise, a pinch of the stuff in some lemon water is a great way to get a mineral boost while you work out, and is essentially what those expensive sports drinks are, sans the artificial colours and flavours.

That being said – if you are noshing on too many processed foods in the first place, these are filled to the brim with sodium chloride. So subtract these before you add – otherwise you will be getting salt overload and anything in excess is never a good thing. .

Green Protein Bar

Ok ok….so I am a huge fan of whole food and believe I should really just have a nice wholesome piece of protein with a suitably dressed veggie…but sometimes (quite often really) I know I am going to be out and about not sitting down when it comes to meal times. In this circumstance I have go to meals that I prepare on Sunday afternoons and bundle them up in portions ready for the week ahead. The key here is simplicity and ease; beautiful bundles that have limited carbs and sugars with maximum protein hit. Think of these as your go to protein bar sans soy fillers and questionable alcohol sugars.

Ingredients

½ cup macadamia nuts, soaked overnight to soften

1 ½ cups of coconut (organic prefereably…or one without sulphites)

¼ cup unflavoured whey protein powder

4 tbs of chia seeds (preferably soaked overnight)

4 tbs of green powder

½ cup water

½ coconut oil melted (or your desired fat;-)

½ tsp of liquid stevia

Process the nuts, coconut, green powder, and protein powder until you have a gummy powder consistency. Add the soaked chia seeds, drained of any excess water, water and coconut oil until combined. Press the mixture into a small pan and refrigerate. That’s it!

When you remove them cut them into portions or roll into balls.

Out of the fridge these babies are dense. Once I wrap them up in baking paper for work, they tend to go gooey…. which is also delightful!

Note: If you want to create a chocolate element to this dish…simply ad ¼ cup of Cacao powder and eyeball a little more liquid.