APRICOT BLISS BALLS - Nut Free, Lunch Box Friendly
Soak 1.5 cups of dried apricots (the brown ones, with no sulphites) for 5 mins in boiling or hot water.
In a food processor, or high speed blender/thermomix/vitamix combine:
1.5 cups oats
.5 cup dessicated coconut
protein powder ( I use The Healthy Chef Organic Pea Protein)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon sprinkle of sea salt
Blitz until combine/fairly fine.
Add in the apricots, a couple at a time, along with water to reach desired consistency
(usually between 2-4 tablespoons - i use the water they've been soaking in).
Roll into balls.
Serve as is, or rolled in coconut or oats etc.
Enjoy one or two before, during or after exercise.
Great in lunch boxes as they're nut free and provide balanced sugars (LOW GI is as well), protein and essential fatty acids.
Self love, respect of self, unconditional love of self - THIS is what will drive you to make choices that benefit you in every aspect of your life. In health, thoughts, emotions, relationships, work... every aspect! I teach this in my Nurture Your Wellness workshops which commence this month! Listen to the end to see why I felt so prompted to post this!
I just wrote this little blurb on this Positive Psychology practise for Natulique Australia - QLD monthly newsletter. While it is written specifically for those in the hairdressing industry, it is still however applicable to anyone who enjoys a sense of 'engagement' and 'flow' within their work.
Plus, remembering that this practise can be done at any time! It is only limited by your imagination and willingness to try!
E N G A G E M E N T.....
Positivity can be fairly easily adopted and brought into many aspects of your life; and has been shown clinically to reduce depression, increase mood and wellbeing in general.
But what if you DON'T naturally feel drawn to the usual methods - such as meditation, affirmations, gratitude journaling etc..? Are you doomed to a mediocre life? Hell no!
Positive Psychology practises, as taught by its founder, Dr. Martin Seligman actually include a number of approaches that might not seem like they are actively creating positivity, but sneakily do so in their processes.
For example, one of the practises within this movement, is ‘Engagement'. This one in particular I want to raise with you today because you are working in a career that is creatively based - which for you, means an automatic bonus in the practise of ‘Engagement’ in your life!
Engagement is an activity that creates a sense of “flow”.
You’re doing it; its challenging …. not too much, but enough to get your brain heavily focused on it, that for a most of the activity, you don’t even realise the time is passing.
You could be working as a hairdresser and creating a masterpiece for your client that not only requires their faith in you but also your full, loving, passionate and creative attention. You are focused on the details, but considering the big picture and end result - and you’re talented enough to do this all while holding a conversation! At the end of the task, there is a sense of accomplishment. Your hard work and passion has created something beautiful! Feels good hey!? *Kick in of happy hormones now!*
Does this resonate with you? If it does, then it is fantastic you are able to work in an environment that also gives you the opportunity to experience a sense of ‘flow’ and ‘engagement’; and, it doesn't have to stop there!
‘Engagement’ can be experienced in art, music, gardening, craft, cooking, sports, travelling, shopping (for some!)..… all that matters is that if YOU are in a state that is completely absorbed in a task, its a little challenging but enlivening and rewarding, and at the end you feel a buzz of accomplishment, a sense of peace or relaxed happiness.. then you have been ‘engaged’.
So while this kind of activity doesn’t necessarily seem as though it is a form of Positive Psychology, in fact it is just that. More of these practises in your life can significantly increase feel good hormones and reduce stress - leading to a greater sense of purpose, accomplishment and wellbeing.
Go get you some!
In February, the month of LOVE, most of us would have spent some time planning to do or give something special to someone we love. We might have also anticipated receiving a gift or gesture in return. But how many of you spent some time loving YOU?
Nowadays, ‘self love’ is almost hotter than Fluro was in the 80’s, but what does it really mean - to practise ‘self love’?
Does it mean to have long bubble baths, paint your toes and put on a detoxifying face mask? Well kind of, it very well could and those things are beautiful ways to love yourself! But, its important to highlight that there is a difference with ‘loving yourself’ practises versus ‘self love’ practises’.
Self love, self esteem, self actualisation are all similar concepts that reflect a practise which champions your Self, in its imperfect perfection. They are about making a conscious effort to practise self love each day, in the face of challenges and adversity. In other words, its about loving yourself for the beautiful and unique individual that you are and applying that to the way you live your life and how you allow others to treat you.
Are you the kind of person who believes they are good enough, but others are probably way better; the kind of person who squirms a little at the thought of charging enough for your professional services, chooses the flight response over standing up for yourself in difficult situations?
If this is you, then perhaps your inner self is struggling a little, as it is missing your crucial undoubting support!! Your inner cheer squad is on holidays, and you want it back!
But how? Well, thankfully, even the littlest efforts can encourage long held beliefs to start changing.
Try by practising this simple, reflective exercise once or twice a fortnight.
Set aside a little time once a week to look at yourself in the mirror. Stand there, for 3 minutes and look. Look at everything you see on yourself. Notice what thoughts pop into your mind “I don’t like.. I wish I had.. I love… “. When you have finished, write down the thoughts that really stood out.
With this list, I want you to analyse them - ask yourself:
Where do these beliefs come from? (media, parents, friends, ex-partners)
Are they useful for me? (do they hold me back?)
Do they make me feel less adequate, and if so, how do I feel about that?
Do I believe them? If yes, how would I feel if I didn’t believe them?
I want you to think about these answers, and start to build a picture in your mind of your own beautiful unique self and how perhaps you have not been your own best friend. From here, the choice is yours to start to become that self-loving person, to champion your own awesomeness and apply it in how you live your life.
Warmth, peace and love to you,
Ok, so correct, today is Saturday.... BUT... I decided to conjure up a simple yet totally decadent breakfast today - that YOU can make tomorrow! *insert happy dance*
Here's how you do it:
Banana, Almond & Blueberry Pancakes
Combine in a bowl:
2 mashed bananas
2 eggs OR 2 tablespoons of chia seeds pre soaked for 10 minutes in 1/2 cup of water
100g of almond meal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup of blueberries to be gently folded in at the end (optional)
Rest for 5 minutes or while you heat your pan on LOW heat with a little coconut oil
Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of batter per pancake (depending on the size you want) and gentle press out into a circle. Cook SLOWLY, don't rush a good thing! When its time to flip, its a little bit of a juggle but try to get it over quickly and don't stress if it gets a bit smooshed, it will be covered up with all that fruity goodness soon enough so you won't even know!
Place them onto plates once cooked, it usually takes me about 5 minutes per pan of 3.
Toppings are the new black
Ok, the sky is the limit with toppings really.. here is what I did today, however I will list some other suggestions for next Sunday ;)
Fruits, Nuts & Seeds (go with your favourites)
Almonds roughly chopped
- you could just as soon add Mango, Passionfruit, Dragonfruit or Stewed Apples & Pears; Cashews, Macadamias, Sunflower and Pumpkin seeds
Yoghurt & "Syrup"
I used @nudiejuice Coconut Yoghurt with half a vanilla bean pod mixed in
For the syrup, I made a quick Salted Date version - take 3 Medjool Dates, a couple grinds of salt and some hot water (about 1/4-1/2 cup) and blitz in a high powered blender like a Nutribullet. You can also warm this over a low heat for a couple of minutes if you can be bothered waiting!! (I am too impatient..)
Throw it all together in awesome pancake stack-like fashion and enjoy with people you love!
October is coming to a close, so the Be Nourished eBook will be free for only a few more days!
Go and grab yourself a copy to learn more about WHY eating a nutrient dense diet, that is predominantly plant based is so so so good for your health!
Its such a great way to brighten your skin, shed any excess fluid and kilograms before summer and add a huge boost to your training capacity.
You dont need to give up eating meat, however significantly increasing the plants will give you a whole new take on how fuelling your body. Trust me! You'll never look back!
As a woman who has loved herself conditionally in the past, and occasionally has lapses, I fully appreciate the little bit of stress that can accompany a holiday to the beach, singlet tops or shorts that encroach the upper thigh!
I have birthed three beautiful children and am in no way a "poster girl". I am 100% real with stretch marks, saggy parts and bits that wobble when I chase my toddler! But, heck, I am still a sun-loving beach bum who wants to enjoy the glorious sunbeams on my body while I frolic around outside this summer! I truly believe we need to approach being "bikini ready" in a way that embraces what we embody as women - nurturing, amazing and abundantly healthy goddesses.
So I wanted to talk about my 6 ways to be "Bikini ready" (aka "summer ready") that are balanced and focus on the most important parts of this state of being:
1. Speak words of kindness. First and foremost, speak words of kindness to YOURSELF. Love yourself unconditionally. No matter where you are in your life, you are perfection. When you speak words of kindness to yourself, it will naturally spread to those around you and you will glow with your own unique and beautiful essence. This is your inner goddess in motion, and harnessing her power will enable you to bloom exactly as you should. Spending time reading books such as: Warrior Goddess Training by Heatherash Amara or Mastering Your Mean Girl by Melissa Ambrosini will give yourself a kick start into loving the skin you're in and the authentic self that resides within it.
We all come in a variety of different shaped and sized packages, which in turn makes us uniquely beautiful. I don't expect you to go out and wear a bikini on the beach if you're not comfortable, the point I am trying to make is that, WHICHEVER way you choose to get out there this summer, own it and love yourself in it.
2. Eat Clean! Nourish your body with food that is alive! Grab yourself a copy of my Be Nourished eBook to get some excellent pointers on living by a Whole Food Plant Based diet (It's free for the month of October wooooooo!).
This doesn't mean you need to stop eating meat, this simply gives you a selection of information and tools to prepare nutrient dense meals at every opportunity - and plants are higher in nutrient density with less calories - another reason they're bikini friendly. If weight loss is a priority for health reasons, then a plant based diet is a fantastic and fast way to shift excess kilograms and feed your cells to support a healthy metabolism and balance hormones.
However, eating a high plant based diet will not only keep you trim, it will leave you feeling alive and alert. Your energy will be better than an energiser bunny with bright eyes and soft skin to boot. Just a couple of weeks following this type of eating and you will never look back. Keep an eye open for the upcoming "What the heck do I eat in a day?" series for inspiration, otherwise check out my Recipes section.
3. Hydrate! We all know this. Keep those fluids up! At least 1.5L-2L per day, more if you're active. Remember to avoid or completely cut out soft drinks, caffeine (I have 1 long black every day or second day) and alcohol. If the idea of drinking water isn't appealing, have you tried a little wedge of lemon or lime? Or chilling your water? These all alter the taste slightly. Filtered water is best.
4. Prepare & Love your Skin. There are a number of ways to create glowing skin... as I mentioned, a highly nutrient dense and plant based diet is one way; other ways are
5. Keep moving. Being active doesn't have to be about smashing out 100 reps of lunges, crunches and push-ups. There is a massive trend with intensive training for women and men alike, and while HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and similar have definite benefits for health and waistlines, they are not suitable for everyone. For some, it's your fitness level, your schedule, your budget or your medical history (past and present) that affects your workout style and I come back to one of my core beliefs: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you are spending 2-3 days recovering from a workout, then it is likely you need to scale it back until your body adjusts. Being deficient in certain nutrients such a Magnesium and Potassium can leave you with excessive muscle pain after workouts, so once you have your diet choices looking pretty good, then you will see the knock over effect into your workout performance and recovery.
My ideal ways of being active are: Yoga - most days, if not every day (and sometimes I only manage 10 minutes with my kids running biting at my ankles) and a run, jog or walk 2-3 times per week. Swimming and Hiking are fortnightly activities.
Its about movement. Be it gentle or hard, its your call. Simply incorporating movement into your lifestyle habits is the key.
6. Have fun. They say laughter is the best medicine? Well, they're right. Enough said.
Ha, I wish it were that simple sometimes!!!!!! This is something I can personally relate to: When you're a Mum - having fun can be hard. I am entirely guilty of forgetting how to have fun and to see the lighter side of things. I've spend days, weeks, even months being a mostly cranky bitch - then I sorted out my diet, and hey presto, things looked up!
But I do believe it is about more than this: CHOICE. You need to consciously make the choice to have fun. And I don't mean just having fun with your kids - that's always entertaining albeit messy.
I mean having fun with your girlfriends, with your husband or partner, with yourself.
Having a good old accidental pee in your pants from laughter kind of fun. Sending stupid messages to each other to brighten the days. Having catch ups with no fuss, dinners with someone you love and a sneaky pash or two, an afternoon lying on the grass reading a good novel or just sleeping (that is seriously fun for me....). We hear over and over, its not the destination that counts, its the journey. Well, again, they're right!! The future is promised to no one, so simply enjoy and enliven the moments you can.
The late, and amazing, Dr Wayne Dyer would say that he had a Jacket in his closet with the pockets ripped out of it, to remind him that you take nothing with you when you leave this earth.
This statement always struck a heart string with me, and helps me change my focus from being a "cranky mamma" to being a "fun loving, silly, but sometimes stern mamma".. Ha.
Now, Go! And rock those beautiful bodies you reside in, nurture and love them and light up your soul with sunshine and laughter..
Friday 23rd September, for those in the Southern Hemisphere, marked the Spring or Vernal Equinox. Scientifically speaking this is the closest time to the day and night being 12 hours each and the days thereafter shifting to more than 12 hours of daylight in each 24 hour period.
Spiritually, across numerous religions this date represents new beginnings, the return of the sun or god and the appearance of the goddess (fertility of the land).
In light of this spiritual time, I summoned the help of two amazing ladies and organised a very special Spring Equinox Women's Circle Celebration.
The focus of this celebration was to honour our authentic selves in a safe and supported environment while releasing sabotaging belief systems and scribing affirmations to manifest during the coming season of abundance.
The energy shared was so enlivening and collectively inspiring, it thrusts me back into remembering how much I love to share this kind of space with others.
Spreading knowledge and love is one of my biggest passions, so for the rest of September and all of October, my Be Nourished eBook will be FREE! Woooo!
So head on over to the STORE section and grab yourself a copy..
Using a Whole Food Plant Based diet as your base for wellbeing and a kick ass body for summer is such an effective way to be a nutrient dense individual performing at your best!
Ways to embrace the spiritual meaning of the Spring Equinox for yourself....
1. In a quiet, private place, think about belief systems or habits that you have that you feel do not serve you well. For example: negative self talk, a participation in a toxic relationship, a commitment to overworking yourself, an inability to receive acts of kindness ... etc..
Write down on a piece of paper the ones that come to mind. There can be one or two or even twenty! Use language such as "I release the need to..." "I let go of my..." "I allow myself freedom from..."
Take this paper and if possible, burn it or destroy it, whilst focusing on these patterns being shifted from your energy field.
2. Next, spend a little time meditating or sitting/lying and consciously allowing yourself to feel the presence of your breath as it brings life to your body.
Focus on the things you want to bring to your life. Try to avoid ego driven desires such as material things, as your ultimate happiness will always come from within, not from external things.
Use language such as "I am...." (strongest affirmation), "I have..." (gives you the ability to do something) and "I allow..." (for when you want something but your mind doesn't believe you deserve it/need it/will benefit from it) to write down the things you wish to grow within yourself. For example: unconditional love of self (physical, mental and emotional self), more quality time in your life, commitment to honest and loving relationships ...etc..
Write these down and pour your energy into them as you do and keep this paper somewhere special. Somewhere you will see it every day or two, to reinforce it.
3. Spend a little time each day or two, repeating the affirmations you wish to manifest in your life and continue to work on ways to achieve this. A vision board or mind map can also be helpful.
Use the energy of spring to harness your natural assertiveness and grab all those good things that come your way - and remember to be thankful - as often as you can.
Smoothies & Smoothie Bowls do not need to be rocket science...
Here are a couple of tips to get creative in your kitchen each day to easily make something delish and fulfilling!
Top Tips for an awesome smoothie/smoothie bowl are:
1. Start with Greens
This is the healthiest option! Ha! But you can be mindful that if you use a lot of greens, they will make a more brown-green tone to the overall colour, depending on what else you are combining with it....
So either reduce or omit them on days you want to make it look pretty and eat more during your lunch or dinner. A lot of the smoothies/smoothie bowls I make, that AREN'T green, have around 1/2-1 cup of spinach and the colour isn't greatly affected.
2. Use one or two fruits
The best smoothie fruits are banana, apple, pear for a mild flavour; through to your watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, mangos and oranges for a more marked flavour. Frozen berries will add more dense and dark colour to a smoothie than regular berries.
3. Add seeds and nuts
These little guys are powerhouses of nutrition! If I can say anything about making a smoothie/smoothie bowl each day is that you should definitely include your seeds! They will keep you fuelled for longer, more satisfied and do wonders for the body due to their essential fatty acids. The best to use are chia seeds (no flavour), pumpkin seeds/pepitas (mid flavour), sunflower seeds and linseed/flaxseed (stronger flavour). The best nuts to use would be almonds or cashews. Avoid strong flavoured nuts like walnuts or pecans as they will tend to overpower the overall taste.
3. Add in your powders
Here are just a couple of different kinds you can play with:
4. Add in your liquid or wet ingredients
It is generally best to make your smoothie on water, especially if weight-loss is a primary concern. Although this isn't one of my personal priorities at present, I prefer a water based smoothie. I feel that the true flavours of the ingredients shine when there isn't a milky overtone.
If you are more inclined for the creamier versions, then I cannot stress enough that you try to use dairy alternatives such as Coconut Milk (Pure Harvest), Almond Milk Unsweetened (Pure Harvest), Soy Milk (Bonsoy or Pureharvest) or Rice Milk (Pure Harvest) which are all available from the Long Life Milk section at your supermarket, and often very reasonably priced.
Using Coconut yoghurt is always a nice little creamy treat too. I personally love the Nudie Juice brand, available at Woolworths, as its more affordable and has a really smooth consistency.
For smoothies, usually fill the liquid up to the top of the fruit/vegetable content or just below, or on the marked line of your blender cup.
For smoothie bowls, use half of this. You may need to give your blender a little shake as its processing it with less liquid. Or adjust with a little more liquid as needed. Some days your smoothie bowl will be just like a soft serve icecream, other days, its a bit more runny.. It will still taste awesome.
5. A couple of combo suggestions
Use these as a base combination, always remember to add some greens and your seeds and powders (if using) and water/milk subtitute
It is limitless. Remember though that some will be better than others. I keep a little notebook in my kitchen and jot down the ones that are awesome - so I can share them with you wonderful people!
One of the most common questions (or statements) I encounter is "But where do you get your protein from?"
Most of us have grown up knowing that:
1. Protein is important
2. Protein comes only or largely from animal products
3. Anyone that doesn't eat meat (or much meat) is probably a little loopy (please note that I have grown up in Regional Australia - sometimes the mindset is a little 'traditional')
So where does one whose daily diet consists of 15% (or less) animal sources get their protein from?
Before I make a list for you, let me quickly address these preconceived beliefs:
1. Yes, protein is very important. It is used by our bodies for a multitude of functions once it has been broken down into amino acids. The structure of our cells and their metabolic processes all require proteins, along with an abundance of nutrients and minerals for optimal functioning. This is why I am a huge fan of plant based eating - because from plants I am able to get a protein source ALONG with a highly dense nutrient source. Animal proteins do give us some nutrients, but not at as high a level nor without the side serving of their saturated fats. So when you think about choosing the best fuel for your cells, it naturally makes sense to source it from something that provides more nutrition than its counterpart. Nutrient dense plant based foods = higher nett gain per meal.
2. Protein is found in plants, in almost every plant. But it is true that it is more prolific in certain plants. Seeds, nuts, legumes are especially dense in protein, along with the respective vitamins and minerals I was just mentioning. The beauty of sourcing your protein from seeds and nuts, is that you are also getting a lovely whack of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) along with it. These little beauties work with your amino acids to ensure cell integrity, proper nerve functioning, brain health and aid in the reduction of inflammation within the body. The shell of each and every cell in our body is made of a layer of EFAs, so they're kind of a big deal.
3. This last one is more of a personal experience with being a predominantly 'non-meat-eater' in a regional Australian town. People are often shocked or surprised that I don't consume meat and I can completely understand that reaction! I used to eat meat! Hell, I even loved meat!
But since learning about and then firsthand experiencing the health benefits of a plant based lifestyle, I am not missing it at all. I take any comments or reactions in my stride and while I do very occasionally consume a little bit of meat or a couple of eggs (once or twice per month usually), I am so happy that I made the shift to this way of living.
OK. So top plant based protein sources:
1. Seeds & Nuts (4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup)
Chia seeds- 12g protein
Hemp seeds - 10g protein
Flax seeds - 8g protein
Sunflower seeds - 8g protein
Almonds, Pumpkin seeds (pepitas), Sesame - 7g protein
Walnuts, Brazil Nuts, Hazelnuts - 6g protein
2. Beans/Legumes (1 cup of cooked)
Lentils - 18g protein
Adzuki & Cannellini - 17g protein
Navy beans & Split peas - 16g protein
Black bean, Chickpea, Kidney bean, Lima bean - 15g protein
3. Grains (1 cup of cooked)
Triticale - 25g protein
Millet - 8.4g protein
Amaranth, Oat bran, Wild rice, Rye - 7g protein
Whole wheat Couscous, Bulgar Wheat, Buckwheat, Teff, Oat groats - 6g protein
Barley, Quinoa, Brown rice, Spelt - 5g protein
Vegetables all contain protein, however are usually 5g or below per cup of vegetables. However when you think of the amount of vegetables you would consume in a large salad, it us usually 2 or more cups, so you are gaining protein sources all the time, along with those wonderful nutrients.
So next time you're concerned about a plant based diet not being adequate in protein, know that as you SHOULD be adding seeds or nuts to every meal or snack, you are already covering that base quite well, not yet including lunches and dinners.