Friday, December 23, 2011

Is that a zucchini in your pocket?

I am quite notorious in my house for sneaking in “surprise” ingredients into mine and my future husband’s food. I’ll often present him with an odd coloured smoothie, funny shaped muffin or an exotic new dish and enthusiastically announce “Guess what’s in it!”

He’s had turkey meatballs instead of beef, wombok cabbage omlettes and random wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, raw, vegan cheesecake made with silken tofu (which he couldn’t even tell the difference)!

So this Christmas we are in charge of dessert and I remember having a sensationally decadent chocolate cake in North Fitzroy one night and wanted to try and recreate it... Oh yeah and it had ZUCCHINI in it!!

Here is the recipe we’re using from naturopath Petrea King’s cookbook Food for Life:

· 300g dark Lindt chocolate. Chopped
· 200g unsalted butter
· 5 eggs, separated
· 1 cup raw or brown sugar
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 cups hazelnuts, whizzed in a food processor until fine
· 1 cup zucchini, grated
· 1 cup wholemeal flour
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· Chopped hazelnuts, grated chocolate to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

2. Brush a 22cm round cake tin with melted butter or coconut oil. Line the base with baking paper.

3. Gently melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan stirring until smooth.

4. Using electric beaters, whisk the egg whites until stiff.

5. Place the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a medium-size bowl and using the electric beaters (no need to wash from whisking the eggs), whisk until creamy.

6. Fold the hazelnuts and zucchini through the chocolate mixture until well combined.

7. Fold in the flour and baking powder, then using a metal spoon, fold through the stiffened egg whites and pour into the prepared cake tin.

8. Bake for 1¼ hours or until skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean.

9. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

10.Decorate with chopped hazelnuts and grated chocolate.

Merry Christmas boys and girls xx

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Act local.

I wandered through the farmers markets in town today and filled my bag with spelt bread from Bellingen (20 mins south of Coffs), bananas from Woolgoolga (20 mins north) and then bought a piece of gluten-free zucchini slice from a little old lady who was doing a roaring trade with all her scrumptious looking homemade treats. I went over to a local business and they ground up some fresh peanut butter for me, then bought the softest bamboo top from a lovely little shop that sells Australian owned and made goods. Afterwards I went into four different op shops and bought a stack of empty jars to put tea light candles in.

Here are Essential Health’s top 10 ways to support your local community:

Visit your local farmers market
Grow your own herbs, fruit and veg and make a compost heap
Pass on old clothes, sheets and blankets to an op-shop
Hand down old toys and out grown clothes to your friends who have kids
Donate money to your Surf Life Saving Club
Adopt new pets from the RSPCA rather than the pet shop
Buy your coffee at a little café rather than a big chain
Volunteer at the RSPCA, a retirement home or soup kitchen
Get crafty and make cards, toys and decorations this Christmas

What things do you do to support the town and country that you live in?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mind chatter.

Who should I thank in my wedding speech?
Where should I take the girls for our staff Christmas party?
What do I feel like for lunch today?
What clients am I seeing this week?
Should I get those new Lorna Jane tights?
Maybe I’ll book another reflexology treatment this week?

Many thoughts floated through my head this morning as I strolled over the headland listening to my iPod. Then all of a sudden I saw something purple out of the corner of my eye. I meandered off the track, bent down and to my delight I saw my first Fringed Violet flower.

I’d only seen photos in my Australian Bush Flower Essences book and had always secretly hoped to find one. The flowers are only about the size of a five cent piece and the delicate petals are as soft as a feather.

I was mesmerised for a minute or two then sat down on the grass on the edge of the headland and drank in all the beauty of the crashing waves, playful families, the warm sun on my skin and the salty air. This my dear friends, is called being MINDFUL.

When you focus on the present moment that you are currently in, all mind chatter ceases and you can be truly free from your mind.

Don't miss out on all the natural beauty that is right in front of you because your mind is too busy running amuck. Where are you right now? What can you see/feel/hear/taste/smell? Give it a try. You will feel liberated.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Thank-God-I-Made-It-Through-November Smoothie.

Sometimes we get so caught up in moving from one obstacle/job/day to the next that we stop to forget to acknowledge our achievements. It could be handing in your final uni assessment or cleaning the whole house from top to bottom. The moral of the story is to take a moment to celebrate YOU!

November was a bloody big month for me. I’ve been working extra hours in the shop, seeing an influx of new clients in the clinic, planning our ‘Big Day’, preparing a car to be sold, plus pilates, Momentum group fitness classes and everything else life had in store! With thanks to my now shrivelled up adrenal glands, I made it to December!

Needless to say, my smoothie today is the Thank God I Made It Through November Smoothie! Dedicated to my adrenals.

Whiz up in a blender:

300ml coconut water
1 heaped tsp of spirulina powder (high in chlorophyll which alkalises the blood)
1 tsp of BioCeuticals Silica liquid (essential for lovely skin and tastes like lemonade icy poles! $24.95 for 500ml)
1 Tbsp chia seeds (for fibre)
½ a banana
A handful of watermelon
A handful of frozen blackberries
A sprig of fresh mint out of the garden

Add a little cocktail umbrella because you deserve it!

Now bring on December!! xx

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book worm.

Sup nerds. Out of all my orders that I place, I get the most excited when a delivery from Brumby Books arrives at our door! Four in particular are pretty special.

Firstly there's the Louise L Hay 'I Can Do It' 2012 desk calendar. Each day that you peel off has a new affirmation ready and waiting to inspire you. On my bday next year on Feb 2nd (yay for Aquarians!) the affirmation says "I really enjoy the present. Every moment today is special, and I choose to celebrate it". And celebrate I shall ;)

I'm a bit of a frother for Janella Purcell. She's a super qualified lady who's books don't seem to have any ego about them. The book is alphabeticalised by foods and disease states so you can see what foods to avoid, increase and herbal medicines to take too. How convenient...

Do your kiddies have eczema, anxiety, catch every cold that goes around, poor concentration, chronically snotty, bad sleep patterns or restlessness? Don't just blame it on the age they're at. Sue Dengate is the goddess of kids health and I wish this book belonged on EVERY parents bedside table. It talks about the link between childrens behaviour and the foods they eat. The foods aren't just red cordial and Twisties, it's the naughty things that are "hidden" in rice crackers, vegemite, cheese, juice, etc. It's an eye opener to say the least.

Spilt hair dye on your bathroom bench top? Deoderant stains on your red leather jacket? Did your cat drink green food colouring and then peed on your oatmeal-coloured sisal carpet? (These are all REAL questions in the book). Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming will be at your rescue! And just for the record, spiders hate lemon oil, mozzies are not fans of lavender oil and peppermint oil deters ants!

So come in and got your nose in our books!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tree hugger.

I have a deep fetish for biophilia. Sounds creepy right? Well it’s not, you sick puppies.

Biophillia is a term that refers to the healing power we experience from nature. This is due to our innate connection to the outside world. There have been countless studies conducted to reveal the rapid improvement of hospital patients who have a view of a garden or who are able to sit outside in the sun compared to those who did not get the privilege.

My Mr and I went to Bunnings on the weekend and came home with a big bag of organic potting mix as well as coriander, cherry toms, mint and sweet basil seedlings.

After a long day of fluorescent lighting, air-con, a constantly ringing phone and racking my brain with correct products for the appropriate conditions, I felt instantly revitalised and grounded after getting some dirt under my fingernails.

So try to sit in a park on your lunchbreak rather than checking your emails, feel the sand between your toes after work and enjoy a leisurely walk over a headland rather than on the treadmill. You’ll feel better for it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spring fling.

Are you guys and girls loving Spring? Me too. I constantly stop in my tracks admiring stunning trees in full bloom, the seductive scent of jasmine floats through the air and nothing improves your quality of life like a stroll on the beach at 6pm after work.

Springtime is all about new beginnings and we start to feel and eat lighter after the slower, heavier months of winter. I frequently flick through my copy of Eating for the Seasons by naturopath Janella Purcell and have made a conscious effort this year to eat and live more seasonally.

As tempting as it is when you catch a waft of mangoes at the supermarket, it’s best to be patient and wait til they are at their peak of ripeness in summer.

When in the kitchen, aim for lightly stir-fried vegies (that still have some crunch to them) and fresh, leafy salads. Feast on green vegies that act as beautiful blood cleansers: green peas, cabbage, green beans, asparagus, bok choy, lettuce, spinach, watercress and silverbeet!

Your liver and gallbladder are more sensitive during spring so be kind to it by cutting back on oils and alcohol and dose up on bitter foods like chamomile, rye and rocket.

The emotions stored in the liver are anger, resentment, irritability and frustration. So think about whom you need to forgive and any grudges that you are hanging onto. And once you’ve done that, get outside and have a play in the garden!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Carpe diem.

I was talking to a client today about how unpredictable life can be. You never know what’s just around the corner: an exciting job opportunity, a relationship breakdown, a pregnancy announcement or a fatal diagnosis.

I had a crappy three days last week but low and behold, the weekend brought about a life-changing marriage proposal on a moonlit headland -which of course I tearfully accepted!

This is why it’s so important to savour each moment, have the greatest respect for your body and tell the ones you love how grateful you are to have them in your life.

“The only constant thing in life is change” -Heraclitus

PS. This is our 100th post!! Woohoo! Take a trip down memory lane by checking out our very first post by clicking here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Day of Love.

Congrats to resident Herbalist and one of my all-time favourite ladies, Wendy Russell, who on this picture perfect day will marry her picture perfect man. Lots of love from myself and the Essential Health team x x x x x

"If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you" -Winnie the Pooh.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Counting whales.

One of my favourite quotes is by Beverly Sills –There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

This rings true for any student who’s studied into the early hours of the morning, any runner who’s trained for a marathon or a new mum with a baby in her arms.

Much like my newly retired parents, who worked insanely hard in their successful businesses and are now reaping the rewards by travelling the world.

I received a one line email from my Father Bear yesterday (a man of many words): "Where are we? Doesn't matter. Some people count sheep. We count whales". With the above photo of my mum attached.

There are no quick fixes for a worthwhile goal. No fast forward buttons for the challenging parts of life. Do the hard yards and you'll be counting whales in no time.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The hydration situation.

Did you know that I can read minds? It’s true! When I ask my customers and clients how much water they drink, I know what they will answer before they even open their mouths: “Not enough”.

About 8 out of 10 people tell me this. We really take it for granted how privileged we are to have fresh, running water in this country!

Dehydration is recognised by the body as an emergency situation! Alarm bells start going off and vital organs (heart, brain, kidneys and liver) steal water from other organs/body processes to keep the body functioning. For example, the brain might be running low of fluid, so the moisture from faeces in the large intestine will be reabsorbed into the bloodstream This causes constipation because the stool has become hard and difficult to pass. Constipation can lead to feeling tired and toxic, acne, haemorrhoids, etc. Not a very pleasant domino effect.

I’m reading this epic book by Don Chisholm at the moment called “Have you got the guts to be really healthy?” which talks about the importance of hydration and how the majority of health concerns can be greatly alleviated by simply drinking water.

Dehydration causes headaches, fuzzy thinking, constipation, dry skin, high blood pressure, stiff joints, gout, urinary tract infections, low energy and muscle cramps -just to name a few!

Figure out what works for you when it comes to drinking water. Ever since buying the beautiful blue glass bottle that sits on my desk I have increased my water intake three fold. Once you start thinking clearer, your skin starts glowing and you have wild amounts of energy –you’ll never go back.

“You may not be ill; you may just be thirsty”-Don Chisholm

Click here for more Essential Health goodness on water!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Move it and lose it.

Ahhh, the weather is warming up! What does that mean? Dresses without tights, no more cardigans and bikini shopping! Don't you just love those change rooms with the mirrors from all angles...

Needless to say we've had an influx of hopeful (and slightly deluded) customers coming into the shop lately looking for a vitamin that will instantly burn fat and melt away cellulite... I then proceed to hand them timetables and contact details for yoga classes, gyms, personal trainers, boot camps and pilates studios in the area (much to their disgust). How is all that mashed potato and apple pie with extra custard tasting now?

Dust off your runners, grab a friend and work that booty because actions speak louder than words.

And remember, sweat is fat crying!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Be brave like a lion.

"Do one thing every day that scares you" - Eleanor Roosevelt.

Smart lady.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Expand your world.

Wanderlust: a strong desire to wander, travel and explore the world.

New York City

Yucatan, Mexico

Lagos, Portugal

Thors Well, Oregon

Rio de Janerio, Brazil

Pamukale, Turkey

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" -Saint Augustine

Click here for more travel indulgence and learning to let go of material possessions

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Loco for coco.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Some people paint
Some people sew
Some people take photos
Some people design outfits
Some people style hair
Some people draw lines with their surfboards on the face of waves

Some people make shapes with their bodies on a yoga mat...

Me? Well I make smoothies!

I’m an absolute fiend for coconut water! If I’m in Byron for the weekend I’ll take a stash from the shop up with me to feed my habit.

So here’s my latest smoothie which is keeping me happy and healthy:

Throw in a blender:

300ml of coconut water
A piece of watermelon
A piece of pineapple (awesome way to get your digestive enzymes going in the morning)
4 strawberries (vitamin C)
1 teaspoon of spirulina (58 times richer in iron than spinach)
1 Tbsp of LSA (fibre and good oils)
And now for the key ingredient.... mint leaves! (great for bloating)

Don’t even talk to me until you’ve tried this smoothie because it’s THAT good!

The benefits of coconut water are pretty amazing. Coconut water is the clear fluid found inside baby green coconuts that tastes lovely and sweet. It’s a natural isotonic beverage which replaces electrolytes (eg. calcium, potassium and magnesium) when your body loses fluid. Yet has nowhere near as much sugar, sodium and artificial colours, flavours and god knows what, as sports drinks. So therefore it’s perfect for after fevers, post-work out, bouts of diarrhoea or a spew after a big night –charming.

Coconut water also has countless other positive benefits on the body which I’ll expand on another time. But here’s a little coconut fact for you:

In the 1500s, explorers thought that the markings on coconuts looked like eyes so aptly named it a “coco” nut which comes from the Spanish word meaning “monkey face”. You'll be happy you read that when the question comes up at your next trivia night down at the local pub.

Click here for some more Essential Health coconutty goodness!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011