Category Archives: Girl crush

Getting my fix

Having tried lots of different eating philosophies, I can say with certainty that there’s not one perfect diet.  That may sound obvious but start doing a search of (insert diet philosophy here) and you will find a number of people telling you that their way of eating is the one and only true way.  I believed this for a while too, but even then, I still observed other people and saw how they were thriving.  Whether their chosen way of eating was paleo, plant based, raw, vegetarian, pescatarian, or omnivore, the one thing they had in common was that they were glowing with health.  But how can this be if there’s only one perfect diet?

Exactly!

So, here’s one lady who I have been watching for a while.  Her name is Stefanie, but for those of you who follow her on social media, you might know of her as Food Fix Up.  She also has an amazing app by the same name.

Here’s my interview with the lovely Stefanie and her tips for staying on top of your health game.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m originally from London but have lived in Sydney for the past 13 years (other than a couple of years in Hong Kong). I love it here and it’s definitely influenced me in terms of how I eat and look after myself – being around so many healthy and vibrant people rubs off for sure! I now have a healthy recipe app called ‘Food Fix Up’ that is a huge passion of mine. To be able to do something I love doing everyday is the ultimate gift.

What is your eating/lifestyle philosophy?

My eating and lifestyle philosophy is 80/20, I don’t believe in depriving myself and although I make healthy food and decisions for the most part; I’m happy to loosen the strings if I feel like it. They say anything that’s an obsession is unhealthy and I truly believe that so I don’t get caught up in ‘’can’t have” – I just make healthy choices for the most part.

 

When and why did you decide to start eating this way?

Ever since I moved here at 20 years old I’ve cooked -I just love it. My style has changed though from moderately healthy, (with a lot of bad stuff thrown in) to a whole foods diet that’s predominately gluten, sugar and dairy free. Eating this way makes me feel energised and happy. The turning point came when my Dad was diagnosed with cancer, I was desperate to help him after the doctors said they couldn’t.. but sadly he did pass away. The only blessing was that during that time I educated myself about food and the effects it has on us – it was a real eye opener and once I started instilling what I had learnt I couldn’t believe how great I felt. There were hiccups along the way but now I feel mine and my family’s diet is perfect for us. Knowing that my daughter is getting what she needs to thrive both physically and mentally is the best part about it.

 

Have you noticed any difference since changing your eating/lifestyle philosophy (if any)?

I’ve noticed huge differences in the way I feel, I used to get so tired – honestly to the point of not being able to keep my eyes open! Now I never get those slumps. I also suffered with adrenal fatigue, it got really bad at one point so to have it under control now is life-changing. The other thing is my skin is so much better, it used to be very dull and lifeless – not the best look haha – now it’s pretty good!

Have you met any barriers to eating this way, if so, how did you overcome them?

I did at one point become a bit too vigilant about what I ate.. I thought I was doing the right thing but I became extremely depleted – I had the lowest iron and iodine results my naturopath had ever seen in fact. It taught me to listen to MY body and not do something just because it works for someone else.

 

What is your favourite dish to make?

My favourite dish to make is usually something asian. I love the freshness you get from lots of chilli, herbs and lime juice. I also love anything with chocolate. #standard!

 

What ingredients are a must-have for your fridge/pantry?

Coconut oil to cook with, herbs to liven up any dish, sea salt, chillies, lemons and limes, apple cider vinegar and lots of fresh veg.

Juices or smoothies? What do you prefer and what combination?

I have both daily. My juice is all veg except for a little lemon and my smoothie is fresh coconut water, avo, berries and some superfoods like bee pollen, maca and chlorella. I also make the app’s banana salted caramel smoothie regularly because just try it. 😉

Sweet or savoury?

Again both.. I enjoy mostly savoury but won’t say no to cake!

Can you share a fave recipe with us?

Here’s one of my favourite recipes – Vegetarian Laksa

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Full on flavour, full of goodness and one to warm your insides during the cooler months. I absolutely love this dish – it’s great to have something ‘soupy’ that still has slightly crunchy veggies and fresh herbs. Add some cooked chicken to this meal for extra protein if you wish but be assured it’s awesome without.

serves 2

25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the paste
1 small red chilli, stalk removed
1 long red chilli, stalk removed
1 small green chilli, stalk removed
1/2 stick lemongrass, chopped, white part only
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
2 spring onions, trimmed
1 lime leaf, sliced
1/2 tbs chilli paste
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 small handful cashew nuts
1 handful coriander, incl stalks, chopped
1 tbs macadamia or coconut oil
2 tbs tamari
For the curry
100g rice noodles
1 can coconut cream
1/2 tbs coconut sugar
2 cup snow peas, ends trimmed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup beansprouts
1 handful mint leaves
1 handful coriander leaves
1 lime
sea salt
1 tbs coconut or macadamia oil
1 tbs toasted sesame seeds
1/2 lime, cut into wedges

METHOD

Process all paste ingredients until relatively smooth – you might need to scrape the food processor down a few times to reach this.

Heat the oil for the curry in a frying pan, add the paste and cook on a low heat for 5-6 minutes stirring every 30 seconds or so.

Pour in the stock, sugar and coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes then cook the rice noodles according to the packet’s instructions.

Throw the snow peas in, cook for another 3 minutes then add both the cooked noodles and beansprouts. Taste, add salt if necessary.

Serve topped with the mint and coriander leaves, sesame seeds and lime wedges.

Can you describe your day on a plate (from rise to bedtime)?

I get up and have a cup of herbal tea or some bone broth, after exercising I have the aforementioned juice and smoothie then breakfast which might be a poached egg with tomatoes, avo and the app’s focaccia or some of the app’s granola with homemade almond milk and berries. For lunch I eat whatever I’m shooting that day – today it was a beautiful snapper and brussel sprout salad. Dinner varies but will always have some protein and lots of veg. We seem to eat a lot of sweet potato wedges, mainly because I know I can whack them in the oven and then forget about them while I bathe my daughter and tidy up!

How do you stay fit?

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I run around like a manic for one. It’s true, I can’t actually sit still which I know isn’t great but I’m working on it! Aside from that I go to Yoga classes and train at Agoga – they do these circuit classes that are full on but so much fun. The thought of going to a regular gym bores me to tears – I’m not good at motivating myself I need someone to encourage me.

I’m always amazed by yogis, and you are an inspiration, thank you! How did you start and what tips do you have for anyone wanting to start out on their own yoga journey?

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Thank you! I started about 5 years ago when I moved to Hong Kong – I hadn’t exercised in ages at that point and thought it would be a gentle re-introduction to moving my body. Wrong – it was crazy and I thought everyone in the class including the teacher was crazy. I stuck at it though for some reason and now it’s such a huge part of my life. I’d really love to say because it grounds me and all that but the truth is I just love to stretch. Maybe one day I’ll be a proper yogi. There’s actually an article on my website foodfixup.com called unsophisticated yoga that delves into this a little more.

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What are your tips for staying mentally healthy in our fast paced world and with so many different life pressures?

Relax, sit down, have a cup of tea and just chill. Haha ok that bit of advice is for me. Well I think we could all do ourselves a favour by stepping away from technology for at least a portion of the day. Our phones have become part of us and not only are we comparing ourselves to others which isn’t at all healthy but we also aren’t living in reality. By just putting the phone down or stepping away from the computer we give ourselves breathing space and time to wind down. Going for a walk and getting out in nature is so worth the time.

If you could give someone a piece of advice regarding adopting a healthier lifestyle, what would that be?

Baby steps. Take one day, one meal at a time. Make small changes and don’t worry if you slip up from time to time. Take note of how your body feels when you eat badly or drink too much and remember how good you feel after you exercise or nourish yourself. I think it’s a process and the best thing you can do is listen to what your body is telling you.

What are your favourite skin products and do you have any skin rituals that you stick to no matter what?

I don’t really have much of a routine. I use rosehip oil religiously – I used to use all kinds of lotions and potions that didn’t do anything but steal my money – I got the best skin of my life after I started eating well.

Loving the Food Fix Up App. When and why did you decide to come out with it?

Thank you. It was a natural progression from posting my pictures on instagram to getting my content out there in a way that would be an easy user experience. To be honest I never in a million years would’ve thought I’d have an app but I do and to think that people actually use it and love it blows me away!

What’s next for the Food Fix Up?

I actually have no idea, I’m just going with the flow and relishing spending time practising my cooking, styling and photography skills. I wake up excited to work everyday and that’s priceless.

Hope you enjoyed the interview and here’s a few more shots of her beautiful food!

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Are you drooling yet?  I know I am!  Can’t wait to try some of Stefanie’s recipes, specially that Laksa :)

Until next time

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb

Plant based power

When I think about body building, the first thing that pops into my head is muscly people walking around in tiny bikinis/speedos, eating bowls full of boiled chicken.

So, when I came across plant based body builders, the popular idea that you must eat animal products to be ‘buff’, was blown out the window.

Shani Vetter, aka @smilingassassinfitness on instagram, let’s me probe into what it’s like in the life of a plant based body builder.

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Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I arrived in Australia from Zimbabwe at 18 years of age all set to study and pursue a career in Illustration with no real passion for food, running or even the thought of lifting weights!  Boy have things changed!  About 6 years ago I started to take a good hard look, not only at my aesthetic body on the outside, but also how I was feeling about myself inwardly.  Remembering a time in my life where I felt most confident, light and full of energy.. I remember it was a holiday I had taken for about a month where I stayed with a friend who was basically eating a Vegetarian diet.  Instantly I knew I had to make that change for myself permanently.  Flashforward a few years my passion for running and weight-training combined led me to a career in Personal Training – a career I never expected but now can’t imagine living without!  
What is your eating philosophy?
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I have been Vegan for ethical and health awareness reasons for nearly 3 years now.  When making the very abrupt decision to make this step with my husband I was very careful to surround myself with as much advice and inspiration as possible – I knew that this was a lifestyle that was going to stay with me for the rest of my life and I wanted to thrive on it as I knew it could be done!  Looking back on how my diet has changed I can’t believe how crazy it really is for instance to be consuming another species milk (?) – I’m positive any adult would turn up there nose at drinking a human mother’s breast milk and yet we are happy to drink a baby calf’s source of milk?  It all seems so clear once you take the “blinkers” off in  life.
When and why did you decide to start eating this way?
After dabbling in some reading on Facebook one evening it led me to an article particularly describing the process of eggs and how all male chicks are “disposed” of within the industry – it had honestly never even crossed my mind that this occurred and it’s like I opened a flood door of new research and emotions that just couldn’t be closed.  Over the next few days my husband and I immersed ourselves in documentaries and articles – one imparticular that we loved as it talked a lot about the health aspect of a plant-based diet was Forks over Knives.  From that point onwards Veganism – the diet and the lifestyle, have been a driving force in both our lives – we truly do want to lead with gentle inspiration and allow our fit and healthy lives to be a form of “activism” for going Vegan.
Have you noticed any difference since changing your eating philosophy (if any)?
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Absolutely!  Initially the changes were a drop in body fat, a feeling of more energy (lightness) and waaaay more regular bowel movements – did I just go there? Yep I did…  My digestive system went from train wreck to smooth running freeway within a matter of days.  Looking back over the last 3 years it amazes me that NOT ONCE have myself or my husband needed to go to the doctor for any reason whereas prior we had various issues requiring antibiotics etc…
Have you met any barriers to eating this way, if so, how did you overcome them?
In the first few months the challenges we faced were mainly when “eating out” – we still had to educate ourselves on what may contain hidden animal products and not be afraid to politely ask for changes to be made at cafes where possible.  Nowdays we realise there is such a great range of whole foods to eat – you start to look at menus differently… anything is doable :-)
What is your favourite dish to make?
Whenever we have guests coming over I love the chance to serve a tasty plant-based spread – my favourite “go to” dish at the moment is grilled Smoked Tofu served with a Spinach, Mango and Avocado salad topped with Walnuts and served with Quinoa, Rice or Sweet Potato.  Dessert is Banana ANYTHING!
What ingredients are a must-have for your fridge/pantry?
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In our fridge you’ll always find Berries, Baby Spinach, Organic Tofu, homemade Almond Milk, Soy Milk, Veggies and pre-made batches of Roast Sweet Potato, Rice and Quinoa to add to meals.
Staples in the pantry are Rolled Oats, Nuts, Seeds Chickpeas, Lentils, Kidney Beans, Raw Protein Powder and Nutritional Yeast Flakes (sprinkle that stuff on everything!)
Juices or smoothies? What do you prefer and what combination?

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I’m definitely a smoothie lover!  Even more so when they are made from frozen bananas so it’s like eating ice-cream!  My fave combo is Banana, Spinach, Dates blended and topped with Pumpkin Seeds for extra protein/zinc.
Sweet or savoury?
Sweet – that’s why I train – haha!!!
Can you share a fave recipe with us?
During my comp prep I kept my sugars and fats lower than normal but definitely did not sacrifice my carbs!  This was a little treat I ate every single day in the lead up – it really reminded me of good old-fashioned Rice Pudding.
1/2 Cup cooked Basmati Rice
Mix with 1 scoop Vanilla Raw Protein Powder (such as Prana Organic)
Enough Almond Milk to make creamy
Top with Cinnamon
Can you describe your day on a plate (from rise to bedtime)?
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Upon rising – Oats with Almond Milk and Raw Protein Powder with sprinkle of coconut flakes and Cacao.
Mid-morning – Green Smoothie
Lunch – Chickpeas with Salad and Hummus
Pre-workout – Banana smoothie
Post-workout – Raw Protein shake + rice or sweet potato
Dinner – Grilled Tofu with Quinoa or Rice and stir fried Veggies
After dinner treats – I have a warm cup of tea with Soy Milk every night and occasionally add a square of Pana Chocolate or make a little banana ice-cream bowl
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How do you stay fit and what is your training schedule like?

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My passions are weight training and running – some may say that’s a little conflicting but I do make sure I focus on one more than the other if it’s in the lead up to a comp or a big run event.  At the moment my routine is a little more relaxed so I’m weight training 3-4 x per week and running at least 3 times per week in the lead up to a 28km trail run in January.  During comp prep in order to gain lean muscle mass and lean down as much as possible my focus was entirely weight-training, only bringing in cardio sessions such as HIIT and walking about 3 weeks out.  My week looked like this in the lead-up:
Monday PM – Chest and Back
Tuesday PM – Legs
Wednesday AM – Cardio
Wednesday PM – Shoulders and Arms
Thursday – REST
Friday AM – Chest and Back
Saturday AM – Cardio
Saturday PM – Legs
Sunday AM – Shoulders and Arms
If you had limited time and space, what would be a kick-ass work out that you would do?
When my husband and I travelled Italy/Greece last year we made it a rule not to go more than 2 days of rest without getting a good sweat session in so they had to be short and sweet so they weren’t cutting into our time.  An example of a tough but really simple “no equipment required” workout is below:
20 Burpees
20 Squat Jumps
20 Pushups
20 Jump Lunges
Scales down to 18 of each then 16/14/12/10 etc…. and record what number you make it down to in 20 minutes!
Next time you do the same workout try to get lower!
(Exercises can be changed but theme of reps stays the same)
You’ve been involved in bodybuilding comps, and your pre-comp and general meal prep has inspired me to be more organised, thank you for that!  But how did you get interested in bodybuilding?
I never thought I’d ever be keen on hitting a stage in front of hundreds of people in a skimpy bikini simply to flex my muscles BUT what really enticed me was (A) this would be a great way to challenge myself into transforming my own body – something I’d never really stuck to any sort of routine with before and (B) I knew that the Bodybuilding community was one full of Chicken/Egg and Whey Protein Powder diets – I want people to know you don’t HAVE to do it this way, in fact you can thrive far better without the meat and dairy inflaming your already stressed body!
Does bodybuilding require a lot of protein consumption  to be successful?  If so, how do you get the sufficient amount to hit your macros on a plant based diet? (sorry, probably the most annoying question ever)
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Haha – so you’re asking “So, where do you get your protein?” :-)  Happy to answer!  I have not had enough time under my belt in the Bodybuilding world to experiment with my diet but I know other Vegan athletes who have competed purely on a Raw diet consuming no Tofu what-so-ever.  I myself had the help of a great friend and coach Luke Tan who educated me about the balance of my macros and to be honest getting protein in was the easy part – I filled my day with a little tofu but the rest came from seeds, powder, beans and leafy greens.  We need between 1.6 – 2.2g protein per kg of bodyweight with male heavyweight bodybuilders being on the higher end.
Do you follow a different nutrition plan and training schedule before comp?
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Yes – I have found that although I can “wing it” I am setting myself up for a risk of ending up without the right type of food an sabotaging my balance which would stress me out especially closer to the comp date. So I plan weekly and try to keep prepping at least a few days worth in advance.  I carry this through even when I’m off season at the moment – I don’t tend to carry around Tuppaware containers though off season haha!  It’s more flexible now.
A lot of bodybuilders talk about finding it a challenge to maintain a certain physique post comp.  Do you find this also? If not, what is it that you do that makes it easier?
I think more than anything it’s a mental challenge coming out of your “comp body”.  The physique that you walk on stage with has been trained for and planned for meticulously and many girls drop to an extremely unhealthy level of body fat.  I did not feel I went to the extreme at all.. of course I looked forward to freely eating treats and not “thinking” as much about what I was eating but my body is still in great shape – the muscle mass I accumulated during my training has made my body tolerant to eating more – yay!
If you could give someone a piece of advice regarding adopting a healthier lifestyle, what would it be?
Surround yourself with other healthy inspirational people both in life and on social media but remember it’s your journey and everyone’s is going to be a little different – find what works for YOU and make sure you are happy with it – it’s not necessary to struggle through.
What are your tips for staying mentally healthy in our fast paced world and with so many different life pressures?
Learn to say “no” sometimes… It’s ok to make YOU a priority in your life – if you are healthy and happy then those around you, your work, your family, your friends – they will all benefit from it.
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So, for those of you thinking about starting on a body building journey, I hope that you have found this informative and please get onto IG and follow Shani @smilingassassinfitness for daily inspo :)
I know that I will definitely try to do more meal prep, if anything, it just makes it so much easier for those days that I’m at work.  I do shift work so having healthy food prepped, packed and ready to go, means that I have more time to spend with my little ladies, train, clean the house, and all the 100 other things that mums do!
Here’s to multitasking and getting shit done!
Peas, love and mungbeans
xxb

 

It’s Summer time…

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I’ve always been in awe of yogis.   I haven’t worked out if it’s because I’m completely amazed by the things they can do with their bodies, or if I’m attracted to the dedication and steel determination that I think you must possess in order to reach both feet beside your head.   I think the yogi name for that is Gandha Bherundasana – Formidable Face Pose.  Look it up, I dare you!

So, when I discovered Summer Perez on instagram, I was hooked.   Apart from her obvious gorgeousness and killer yoga poses, there’s something so positive and calm about her that I couldn’t help but be drawn to it.

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I look forward to her pics every day, as well as the beautiful accompanying quotes.  They serve as a reminder that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.

But how does one get that good at  yoga?  And is it more than just the aesthetics of the physical body?  Well, of course it is!

Whilst researching all things yoga, I came across this amazing article, it sums it up pretty well.  You can find it here.

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And I also got to ask Summer all the usual OHM questions :)

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I recently made a massive life change when I moved to Las Vegas from Miami.  I’m a wife and a stay-stay-at-home mom of two toddlers who is working on launching a health-related business in the community within the coming months.  I’m also working towards my own blog and Youtube channel.  I love photography, writing, reading, motorcycles, music, leather, chocolate, stand-up comedies, and the occasional raw cheesecake.
What is your eating philosophy?

Most of my week is clean and plant-based unless my husband brings home something else and I’m hungry (so I’m not 100% plant-based just yet..there’s some cheese from time to time). I definitely don’t like preparing raw meat. But that’s not the only reason why I lean towards a plant-based lifestyle.  See, my kids are genetically predisposed to developing Multiple Sclerosis (my MIL suffers from it now), and the research I’ve read says that many of the triggers are created through lifestyle choices before the age of about 15. Switching to a plant-based lifestyle with less than 25 g of saturated fat per day, and omitting dairy and eggs, helps decrease the odds significantly. They are also predisposed to developing Alzheimers (my FIL has it), which is basically Type 3 diabetes.  Because of that I try to keep their sugar intake low so that they won’t have a huge craving for it later on. Do I freak out about food then?  No.  When we have something that isn’t in line with our everyday, I want them to know that, “Hey, this isn’t the greatest thing for you, but don’t beat yourself up if you have it every once in a blue moon”.  I want them to develop a healthy relationship to food and not develop anxieties at meal time. Food is nourishment, not a cause for a panic attack.  I grew up in a family that believed that food is one of the best medicines out there. And I believe that this is why I’m rarely sick and my injuries heal quickly…I want the same for my own children.  Give your body the nutrition it needs to perform optimally, and it will take care of you for many years to come.

When and why did you decide to start eating this way?

Aside from what I mentioned already, I knew about healthy eating since I was a child. I stopped having so much dairy when I was 14 when I realized I was lactose intolerant. Then in my late teens I started to recognize how food had the power to clear my skin.  But it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my second child that I noticed how much wheat hurt me.  I would have pains and even wake up feeling like I was hung over.  I cut down the wheat products immediately.  A few months later I found out my son was allergic to wheat and eggs, so my journey to truly listen to my own body and understand its reaction to foods began.  I stopped the meat when I noticed my body felt much better when I omitted it.

Have you noticed any difference since changing your eating philosophy (if any)?

Yes! I have more energy, my pains have lessened…and I have noticed I’ve gotten stronger and more flexible.

Have you met any barriers to eating this way, if so, how did you overcome them?

For me, no.  But for those around me, yes.  At first many believed that it was going to be expensive and difficult, and it would ruin family get-togethers, but I’ve found it to be much more cost effective and pretty simple… and now those same people are asking me for tips on how to revamp their meals and health! And no one noticed that I didn’t reach for the turkey or ham at Thanksgiving.

What is your favourite dish to make?

Chickpea curry and rice, or red beans and rice. Simple comfort food.

What ingredients are a must-have for your fridge/pantry?

Oatmeal, quinoa, chickpeas, beans, rice, celery, bananas, coconut oil, nut butter.  These are permanently on the shopping list.

Juices or smoothies? What do you prefer and what combination?

Both! But I do lean towards juices more often than not. I experiment a LOT with many different combinations, and I’ll soon be finalizing recipes.

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Sweet or savoury?
Too hard to pick

Can you share a fave recipe with us?
My kids LOVE this one!

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Lentil tacos
1 teaspoon olive oil
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 small clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup dried lentils, rinsed
1 tablespoon taco seasoning, or to taste (or make your own with cumin, chili powder, paprika)
1 2/3 cups vegetable broth
2/3 cup salsa
12 tortillas or taco shells
Method
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir onion and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes.  Mix lentils and taco seasoning into onion mixture; cook and stir for 1 minute.  Pour vegetable broth into skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the skillet, and simmer until lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover the skillet and cook until mixture is slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Mash lentils slightly; then stir in salsa.  Serve about 1/4 cup lentil mixture in each taco shell. Garnish with cilantro (coriander) or any of your favourite taco toppings!
Another simple one is:

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BBQ cauliflower “drumsticks

Preheat the oven to 400.
Line a baking sheet.
Cut the cauliflower into florets.
Brush on BBQ sauce.
Bake for 40 minutes, moving them around every 5-10 minutes to prevent burning.
Brush on more BBQ sauce when it’s done.
That’s it! Serve like you would chicken drumsticks.
Can you describe your day on a plate (from rise to bedtime)?

I keep it clean as much as possible.

Example from what I’m planning on having today:
Breakfast- oatmeal with something sprinkled on top like flaxseed, hemp hearts, chia seeds, raw honey (today was flax and honey)

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Lunch- quinoa with black beans, corn and salsa
Snack- peanut butter bananas
Dinner- chickpea curry over rice

Any snacks in between are usually fruit, peanut butter on celery, and/or nuts. Coffee for breakfast but lots of water throughout the day.

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How do you stay fit and what is your training schedule like?

I stay active! I make it a “must” in my life instead of a “should.” I join in on my kids’ playtime, which involves involves a lot of running and jumping.  I can’t make it to the gym, so every workout is at home. Sometimes I use my kids as added weight when I’m doing squats and lunges or holding a plank.  I practice yoga every day, and when it comes to strength training, I like breaking up the days (like Monday and Thursday for lower body, Tuesday and Friday for upper body). Sometimes just 5 to 10 minute workout breaks throughout the day are just the thing I need when life gets busy.

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Your yoga poses are so graceful and beautiful, they actually remind me of art! What got you into yoga?

Thank you! It was yoga that really showed me that the body is a vessel for creative expression. I love playing with poses, lighting and photography and seeing what turns out :)
I started yoga at a time when I was surrounded by negativity and things were just rough in my life.  My body felt just as weak as my self-esteem, and I kept going in and out of post – partum depression..or maybe it was just depression from life in general.  Who knows.  I just know I wasn’t able to shake it off like I usually do until my mat started calling for me on a daily basis.  And with every breath, a new life started to unfold…stored energies started to clear…mental blocks started to move…fears became released.  I started to feel like myself again..that same way I did so long ago when I remembered to meditate.. remembered to be kind to myself… remembered that my true essence is love.  I realized that I had let life get in the way and I didn’t take care of myself the way I should have. But now that my kids are getting older, I’m seeing how vital it is for me to continue my practice and make time for ME.  I owe it to myself and to my family to be at my best every day, and I can only do that if I love myself and devote time to my needs.  And when I do that, these blissful moments become more frequent as we feed off of each other’s high frequency vibrations.  My practice makes me a better mom and wife, and it develops a loving relationship with my true self and with the Universe as a whole.
You are mega flexy! What has your journey been like to get to this point in your practice and what does yoga mean to you?

I was a runner for most of my life, then spent time boxing and lifting weights. So due to the nature of those activities my hips and hamstrings were pretty tight when I first started practicing yoga.  I had some flexibility, but it’s been practicing every day and learning to breathe into the stretch that really helped my progress.  I can see the difference from one day to the different next if I don’t practice.
But yoga is so much more than poses. It is a way a life…one in which love, truth and acceptance prevails.  Yoga is about pulling away all of the layers and discovering the core of who I really am.  It redirects energies and facilitates the return to love.  The awareness that it brings to every day allows me to live life without letting it pass me by.

Does your whole family do yoga?

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Yes! My kids will sometimes follow alongside whatever flow I’m doing, or they’ll practice something off to the side that they’ve seen me or someone else do.  My husband does a bit of yoga from time to time with me, too, when he’s home from work.  As a family, we practice the principles off the mat, and we do breathing exercises to bring us back to centre whenever things start getting hectic.  It brings so much peace and awareness almost instantly.

What would be your top tip for someone beginning on their own yoga journey?

Honour your body. Push up to and slightly past your limit, and keep moving forward steadily… you don’t want to risk injury.  Celebrate the small successes along the way.  You’ll gain confidence with every step. Show yourself love, compassion and lots of patience.  Show up consistently and you’ll see not only your body transform, but your mind and soul, as well, as you begin to take the lessons from the mat into your daily life.  And enjoy the journey!

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What’s your advice on staying mentally healthy in our fast paced world and with so many different life pressures?

Breathe and be love..and practice forgiveness. Everytime you can catch yourself wrapped up in a situation, take a moment to breathe deeply and choose the path of love, peace, and understanding.  You don’t have to show up to every conflict you have been invited to; you can be the light, instead. And forgiveness is so vital for our sanity– it removes the power that person or event holds over us.  The more we forgive others and ourselves, the more freedom we feel and the easier it is to live in truth.

Wise words from a wise and amazing soul.

Hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did.  It really just makes me want to pull my finger out and get on that mat!

You can find Summer on instagram @summerperez

 

Peas, love and mungbeans

 

xxb

 

All photographs supplied by Summer Perez.

Beautiful Hippy – Taline Gabriel

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I have been in love with Taline’s instagram from the first time I came accross it.  She makes the most delectable healthy treats, that just happen to be plant based.  One scroll through her photos and it’s not hard to see why she’s so popular.   But apart from the aesthetics of her photos, her treats are truly delicious, and you can believe me because I’ve had the pleasure of eating what she’s made.   You can’t get more legit than that!

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I first met her after we worked with Stephanie Rice on a food shoot for her website.  It was Taline that reached out to me and asked if I wanted to be part of the project which was so lovely, and of course I was a bit star struck as I’d been a huge fan of hers for a while.

Whilst we didn’t get a chance for much conversing on that shoot, we have met up since and what striked me most (aside from her obvious hotness) was how honest and down to earth she is.  Apart from making gorgeous treats, she’s also a genuine person who tells it like it is.  Which is why I love her even more.

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Here’s me being nosey and asking the usual OHM questions.  For your reading pleasure of course!

Questions

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Australian of Armenian descent, born and raised in Sydney. I am married and have two wonderful children. I love anything food and fashion and am travel obsessed. I’m passionate, fiercely loyal and say it how it is.

What is your eating philosophy?

– I eat a variety of fresh, unprocessed and ethically sourced food that’s mostly free of gluten, dairy, GMO and refined sugar. I make baked and raw vegan treats but I’m not fully raw or vegan, although I fully respect the vegan lifestyle and their ethical and environmental standpoint.

When and why did you decide to start eating this way?

– I have always been generally health conscious but I wasn’t restrictive or on a particular diet. About 4 years ago, when I was trying to fall pregnant with my second child, things didn’t seem right so I went to see a holistic gp. I learnt that I was intolerant to a whole list of foods including egg, dairy, wheat, and soy. I needed to cut these offending foods out of my diet to help heal my gut, so that’s what I did.

Have you noticed any difference since changing your eating philosophy (if any)?

– A huge difference. I feel less bloated and sluggish and generally more energetic. I don’t have digestion issues as I used to and feel well overall.

Have you met any barriers to eating this way, if so, how did you overcome them?

– We definitely reduced the amount we ate out. My husband is in coffee and hospitality so we travel often and dine out a fair bit. Although I was already big on cooking and prepping my own meals, I got in the kitchen a whole lot more. I found it was just easier to eat at home as I knew exactly what was in the food I was eating. I also began to make my own treats. This was the hardest part of being egg, gluten and dairy free. There were seriously no sweet options. Especially when you add ‘no refined sugar’ to that list. That’s how Hippie Lane evolved.

These days there are so many alternative options available on café and restaurant menus, it’s hardly an issue. Things have come a long way in the last 4 years, it amazes me how conscious people have become to dietary restrictions.

What is your favourite dish to make?

– I love anything chocolate. My raw Cookies and Cream Slice is probably my favourite.

What ingredients are a must-have for your fridge/pantry?

– Organic cacao powder, coconut oil, nuts, dates, activated buckwheat, rice malt.

Juices or smoothies? What do you prefer and what combination?

– Smoothies for sure. I love acai-based smoothies. My favourite at the moment is a mix of acai powder, berries, banana, cacao, maca and almond mylk. Obsessed!

Sweet or savoury?

– SWEET

Can you share a fave recipe with us?

– Absolutely. If there were one recipe that I’d convince you to make it, it would be my RAWEO. Here it is:

Raweos

Biscuits:

3/4 cup pecans

1 cup dates

Pinch of salt

1 tsp pure vanilla powder

3 tbsp cacao powder

Filling:

1 cup soaked cashews

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp coconut nectar

1 tsp vanilla powder

Method

Process biscuit ingredients in a food processor until it reaches a dough-like consistency.

Roll the dough into a large ball and flatten on cutting board with a rolling pin.

Cut in circle shapes with cookie cutter.

Refrigerate until firm. You can freeze to speed up the process.

Blitz filling ingredients in the food processor. Should be nice and smooth.

Spread filling onto chilled cookies and sandwich together.

Store in the fridge.

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Can you describe your day on a plate (from rise to bedtime)?

Breakfast – Smoothie Bowl with Hippie Lane RAWnola, fresh berries and nuts
Lunch – Quinoa and baby leaf salad with lentils and roasted veg + a raw chocolate treat
Dinner – Bean casserole with sautee garlic mushrooms and kale, with a rocket salad

How do you stay fit?

– Pilates and long walks. I’m tempted to start the Kayla Itsines’s program, just trying to find the motivation to begin – I hear it’s grueling!

What are your tips for staying mentally healthy in our fast paced world and with so many different life pressures?

– I try to be mindful and to live in the moment. I’m very grateful for all the wonderful things in my life, including my work, my friends and most of all my family. I take each day at a time and count my blessings.

Seeing your treats are a delight to the eyes, thank you for that! But what inspires you to create such yumminess and how do you know what will drive us all crazy?!

– It’s funny, you can never really guess how people are going to react to your recipes. There are times when I think something will be a huge hit and it will receive a lukewarm response, and a treat that I post reluctantly will have people going crazy. It’s bizarre! But I’ve worked out that people love chocolate and peanut butter. I can safely assume that people generally go nuts for anything with that combination.

If you could give someone a piece of advice regarding adopting a healthier lifestyle, what would it be?

– Take small steps. It can feel overwhelming letting go of old eating habits – don’t try to do it all at once. I would suggest beginning by eating more fresh food, especially plants, and to reduce the amount of packaged food you consume. That would be my starting point.

You have a new website and it looks fantastic, what’s next for Hippie Lane?

– Thank you! I have a recipe app on the way and am moving toward wholesaling my treats to the café market.

Any news on when the app is coming out, we’re all hungrily awaiting!

– Yep so I’ve been told! It’s been a monster job to get all elements of the app together and into production. We expect the app to be ready before the end of this year, sometime in December. So not long now 😉

If we want to try your treats, where can we get them?

– Hippie Lane is currently supplying to Dose Espresso and Ritual Coffee Traders in Sydney.

 

If you’re not already following her on Instagram, I suggest you do!

As for me, I’m off to enjoy my Rawreo :)

 

Peas, love and mungbeans

 

xxb

Bend it like Caroline

You know what I love the most about social media? Apart from connecting with like minded individuals, you also meet some people who inspire you.

This happened to me when I first started seeing Caroline’s pictures on Instagram.  Apart from her amazing yoga skills, what got me about her was the aura that she had.  There was just something about her that made me want to know more about her. Her vibrancy literally jumped off the screen and yelled out that there was something more  about this girl.

In a world of superficiality and sometimes make believe, Caroline’s authenticity really drew me.

So, being the inquisitive being that I am, I decided to approach Caroline and asked her to share her story.

Here she is, in all her sunny splendour and in her own words.

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Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I’m originally from Denmark in the Northern Hemisphere but decided to take a leap of faith to further progress in my career and move to Australia when I was 20. Almost 4 years later I’m still here and proud to call this my home. I specialise in Digital Marketing/E-commerce helping both new and well-established business find their feet in the Digital Jungle by creating innovative & sustainable strategies.
On the sideline – where you may know me from – I practise yoga, train and I’m a BIG (mostly Vegan) foodie. It changed my life when I was diagnosed with cancer as 22 year old and have used the past few years battling this disease and kickin’ its butt! I believe the reason I recovered was because of my lifestyle change into eating raw, vegan, nutritious food and practising mindful yoga every single day.

What is your eating philosophy?

I try to eat completely vegan 90% of the time. I believe in eating what my body feels like, and I don’t limit myself by counting calories. As I’ve made the transition into a healthier lifestyle I don’t have many cravings any longer, but if I crave something sweet I’ll normally have one of my vegan, raw treats that are waiting in the fridge to be eaten :)

When and why did you decide to start eating this way?

When I was diagnosed with cancer in mid-April 2012 my life was turned upside-down in more ways than one.
However, it wasn’t until January 2013 I really turned my life around and became a healthy foodie.

The reason? A few months earlier someone broke me inside. So very badly. I’ve never felt pain like that before. Pain in my heart, my body and my mind. Mix this negative, depressed and sad state of mind with chemo, lots of medicine and not a lot of food you have a bomb that’s bound to go off.

When I went into cardiac arrest in hospital in December 2012 (I still thank the Universe every day for bringing me back to life) and waking up in ICU to my loving friends I knew something had to change. If I wanted to live and beat cancer, beat anything that would come at me I needed to change everything. Nutrition, exercise, mind-set and much more.

And so I made my way through the jungle of different approaches to healthy, clean, raw eating, lost 20 kg’s and have finally found my way to become 90% vegan. Beating cancer and being in remission from January 2014 was the best thing to happen to me in my life and to this day I still believe I owe it all to my nutrition, yoga, positive thinking and the amazing souls that fill my life with joy. Your mind is so much stronger than what you think it is!

Have you noticed any difference since changing your eating philosophy (if any)?

Absolutely. The biggest difference that most people can/could see was probably when I dropped 20 kilo’s. My skin started clearing up, I sleep better, my energy is always on a high, I recover quicker when I train, I feel happy and positive about life.

Have you met any barriers to eating this way, if so, how did you overcome them?

I had a lot of people in my life disagreeing on the lifestyle and eating philosophy changes I incorporated. A lot of people thought I did this to lose weight and just to look good – a lot of people thought I took it too far, because I think they didn’t fully understand the extent of my mission. They liked life the way it was & was scared of changes – even if it wasn’t their own life who was going through a change. However I knew I ultimately did this to save myself from being beaten by cancer. And to live life.

What is your favourite dish to make?

I LOVE to make my vegan, raw, sugar-free treats. They’re so tasty and there’s nothing better than seeing the look on people’s faces when they try one and say: “So, you’re saying this is healthy? This is good for me? How is that possible? It’s SO tasty!”
Unfortunately a lot of people are very narrow minded when it comes to living a vegan, healthy lifestyle. They basically think you eat carrot & sellery-sticks and nothing else.

What ingredients are a must-have for your fridge/pantry?

My fridge and pantry are always fully stocked – that also helps me to make the best decisions when it comes to eating healthy and if you’re in a rush. My fridge is always full of fresh veggies, fruits & berries from the markets along with almond & coconut milk, herbs to add spice to my dishes and of course cold water.
In my pantry I always keep stables like canned beans, coconut oil, grains, dried spices, flours, dates and raw cacao.

Juices or smoothies? What do you prefer and what combination?

I prefer smoothies much over juices. I’ve never really been on the ‘juice-bandwagon’, however this doesn’t mean I won’t ever have a juice – I do. But I believe in eating food in their most natural way and this means keeping the ‘meat’ of the fruit instead of just consuming the juices.

My favourite smoothie is a Banana & Blueberry smoothie with Vanilla Vegan Protein from BodyScience. YUM!

Sweet or savoury?

SWEET! I do have a massive sweet tooth, so I’m happy I’ve got a lot of vegan, raw, sugar-free treats up my sleeves 😉

Can you share a fave recipe with us?

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Absolutely.One of my favourite treats are my Raw Peanut-butter & Coconut cups. They are vegan, raw, sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and egg-free.

Ingredients:

Almond Base layer:

1 cup almonds
6 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil
1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp rice malt syrup
Pinch of rock salt

Peanut & Coconut Butter layer:

1/3 cup raw peanuts (unsalted)
1 tsp rice malt syrup
1/2 tsp rock salt
6-8 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil
1 tsp desiccated coconut

Chocolate layer:

1/4 cup organic virgin coconut oil
4 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 tbsp rice malt syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
8 medjool dates
Pinch of rock salt
Directions:

To make the Almond Base Layer: Combine almonds, coconut oil, vanilla bean, salt & rice malt syrup and blend until you can make a dough that’ll easily stick together when you handle it with the hands. If too dry, add a tiny bit more coconut oil.
Take a muffin-form with place for 6 and add the dough, pressing down firmly. Let it sit in the freezer.
To make the Peanut & Coconut Layer: Combine peanuts, rice malt syrup, salt, coconut oil and desiccated coconut to a blender and keep blending for 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides until a paste This peanut butter will have a thicker consistency. Add more coconut oil to make it more runny if you wish.
Grab your almond-base layer from the freezer and roll a small ball out of the peanut butter, adding one to each cup of the muffin-form and pressing them down on top of the almond-layer slightly so they squeeze out to a flat ‘pancake’.
To make the Chocolate Later: Combine coconut oil, raw cacao powder, rice malt syrup, vanilla bean, dates and salt in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
Take your muffin-form and spoon over the chocolate on each cup. Put them back in the freezer and let them set for 30 min – 1 hour.

PastedGraphic-1Can you describe your day on a plate?

8am: I will start off my day with either gluten-free oatmeal with fresh fruits & vegan protein from BodyScience or a kale & tofu scramble.

10am: by this time I’ll be starving, so I’ll have a handful of raw nuts and a cup of peppermint or ginger/lemon tea – perhaps with a piece of fruit too.

12.30pm: LUNCH-TIME! Any time I can eat is a good time :) I normally have a big raw salad with lentils or chickpeas for protein and added nuts/seeds for crunch dressed with fresh lemon juice and S&P.

3pm: For a snack I’ll have carrot & red capsicum sticks with some homemade hummus or roasted pumpkin dip and another cup of tea.

7pm: For dinner I normally like to keep it light – I won’t have that many carbs for dinner so it’ll be another load of fresh veggies, normally steamed as I like a ‘hot’ dinner. When it’s winter I like to whip up a little carrot & pumpkin mash to go with my veggies. It’s so delicious and easy!

9pm: I’ll normally have a bit of fruit or one of my vegan, sweet treats to curb my cravings :)

How do you stay fit?

I train 6-7 days a week. I train weights for 1 – 1 1/2 hour every morning + yoga afterwards or in the afternoon. I don’t do much cardio at all – my body doesn’t respond to it anymore after having played handball for 14 years.

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If you had limited time and space, what would be a kick-ass work out that you would do?

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I would do a combination of my arm & legs workout you can find on my Instagram and mix it up with skipping in between every other set. You’ll be sure to get your heart rate pumping and sweat on your forehead!

Seeing your yoga pictures is such a treat and you have inspired me to take up yoga, thank you for that! But how did you get so bendy?


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A lot of people ask me this & I’m still not quite sure what to answer. I always thought I was rather flexible however when I took up yoga 9 months ago I was proven very wrong!
I’m the type of person who doesn’t have a bone of patience within me – if I want something I keep going at it until I have it or can do it. It’s been a lot like that with yoga too. It’s so addictive because it changed me as a person. It changed my mindset and my body. And so when something you love to do and makes you feel so good every single day it’s hard to not keep at it. I strive for progression not perfection though. Give your body time to get used to the poses. You may look back at yesterday and thinking nothing has changed however when you look back at the weeks and months you can see the progression so clearly.

If you could give someone a piece of advice regarding adopting a healthier lifestyle, what would it be?

Life is too short not to nurture and value your body for what it is. You only have one body and it has to last you an entire lifetime. Don’t be scared to adopt a healthier and more positive lifestyle – take one step at a time and make small changes if you’re scared of turning your life upside down instantly. We, as human beings, are creatures of habits – keep at it and soon your lifestyle change won’t be something you think about so much – it’ll be just what it is; your lifestyle.

If you want to see more of Caroline, please head over to her blog www.greenresolutions.com and also find her on FB: www.facebook.com/greenerresolutions and Instagram: carolinehgroth

Keep inspiring Caroline!

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb