Dec 29, 2011

A Christmas Stuffed


Hello Summer Sunshine!!
The season did begin almost a month ago, but better late than never right?

How was your Christmas? I hope you all had wonderful big lunches or dinners, family gatherings, friends around, present swapping, hugs, smiles and laughter. I had all that that's for sure! Christmas is my favourite time of year and I always get very much into the decorating and present buying and kitchen creations and this year was no different - except much more exhausting! Did anyone else find that or was it just me? Actually I know it wasn't only me as I've heard similar things from others around me. I was working more hours leading up until Christmas as my boss was on maternity leave (and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at 11.50pm Boxing Day - yay), making Christmas cake orders for the shop and more for the markets, present shopping, and all whilst we had more people living in our place and my grandmother just passed away. So it's been full on, busy busy, hectic, stressful, and wonderful all at once, but I am in desperate need of solo time, quiet time, and reflection on what has been...

But before I get there I'm here to show you what my Christmas was - and say thank you again to everyone that ordered and bought my cakes. Big success :)
PS. Serious food porn ahead!

Deliciously Christmassy

Pre-orders lining up

So my Christmas morning began early as my dearly beloved and I wanted to get to the beach and in the surf. And WOW was it deliciously refreshing, with a gentle breeze, warm sunshine, and a few other people eager to catch what had been the only sunshine of Summer so far. No guesses as to how AMAZING we felt afterwards, as we were ready to face the day of eating to come!

Sydney's North Curl Curl - the best beach on the east coast :)

So back to mums' place by 830am, and surprised to see most of the house already up and about (I'm always the one waking everyone else at 6am to open pressies and make brekkie). Big hugs for mum and then upstairs to jump on my older sister still in bed who funnily enough said she was waiting for me - Christmas wasn't the same without me jumping and waking her!! Haha! Mum had set the table, and was cooking coconut pancakes while I made my banana-nog and sandwiched (pre-done) raw banana pancakes with fresh fruit and a drizzle of maple syrup. With Michael Buble playing in the background, a perfect Christmas morning :)

Raw banana pancakes with fresh fruit and maple drizzle


Then it was opening presents time!! Santa still comes to mums place so we all get spoilt! And boy oh boy this year was no different!! New books, dvds, music, clothing, candles, bags, a turkish bowl I adore, a massage voucher (yum), choccies, the list never ends!! But what I love most is actually sitting down to share a meal with my whole family, and dancing around the house with mum and my sisters. And furthermore having and spending time with all my extended family in the space of a few days, as it's one of the only times we all get together these days.

All the cousins!!
The rest of the day was as follows:
Lunch with my man's family out near Dural - big salads and fruit and I took over a raw xmas cake to share as well. More presents given and received, big hugs and we were off again. Driving south to Bowral for dinner at Dad's - a huge spread of food and the table looked like something out of a DJ's catalogue (haha sorry Dad) !!

Garden Salad

Hot Spicy Tomato Salad

Fatoush Salad

Avo halves (eaten predominantly to counteract the copious amounts of chilli I ate in the tomato salad)

Raw Fruit Mince Tarts (made especially by my wonderful step-sister)

After mains, pre-dessert, pressie time

The best nectarines I've ever had!

The best blueberries I've ever had - hand picked by my step sister and step mum

My little plate of goodies

We crashed at Dad's and got up early to drive back home to get organised for the Big Relo's Boxing Day Bash happening at mum's place. Sleeves up, carrot juice had, then onto making salads! Once again, a huge spread of food with 20 people there; there were fresh prawns, roast beef, ham, smoked mussels and oysters for everyone else, then a whole table of salads (a few other organic ones for my man and I), later followed by French cheeses and breads, then desserts, then teas and coffee. Phew! Time to digest!

Green salad, potato salad, grilled vegie salad, avo mango salad, noodle coleslaw salad, and my zucchini pasta!

Voila! Raw pasta a big hit!

My cousins amazing mango-avo-macadamia-rocket salad!

Mango salsa, organic greens, other salads and raw carrot falafels

Carrot falafels with sweet tahini smoosh

Ever had passionfruit on your green salad? So good!

And once done on salads (cheeses and breads if you wish) it was dessert time! Always a highlight on Boxing Day. And this year was no different -

Mums mango amaretto ice cream cake, and a big pavlova

The Bouche de Noel - traditional French Christmas Cake we have every year

But for the raw foodies... none of the above as delicious as it all looked - I had made a special version of my Christmas cake. A raw chocolate-choc-chip Christmas cake (dare I say I think it's better than the origianl!). Mmm so good! With a choc-mammey ice cream I had made (after altering my good friend Omid Jaffaris' recipe here), one of my girl Kristina's beautiful luvbites (new flavour - omg) and the best blueberries ever, I don't think I could have had much better!!

Herbal tea after digestion took place, then crashing on the floor, another Christmas done and dusted!
"We did it" said mum and I. And now I totally deserve some R&!

Peace love and mung beans dudes and dudettes. Happy New Year if we don't speak before, be safe, and I'll see you all next year!

Dec 23, 2011

Gabriel Cousins in Sydney

Wow how this year has flown! It's only 2 days til Christmas!! I've been so busy the past few weeks making raw xmas cakes, and a few other bits the past couple of days for treaties also! Thanklyou to everyone who put an order through, I'm sure you will love your cakes! If you didn't manage to get an order in and you live in Sydney, I'll be down at Taylor Square Markets tomorrow selling them so get down quick!
Other than that (work and studies; the usual) my minimal fruit experiment is going great, but my partner made smoothies for me the past 2 days so I've had them for lunch. FULL of FRUIT but oh-so-delicious, I did feel very good after them, full of energy and what not. But one thing I have noticed is a little belly fat hanging off my sides that wasn't there last week. Now, of course this could be due to anything, perhaps the higher fat intake also, stress, or the 2 days of alot more fruit after very minimal. Who knows. I know where my suspicions lie though so for the next few days I'm going to have the 2 bananas or 1 mango or few dates each day only and no more, to see if that makes any difference - I'll keep you posted.
But here is my Gabriel Cousins Sydney lecture summary I have promised you guys! A little later than I had wanted, but better late than never! Gabriel ran through such expansive topics and knowledge that had me writing notes as quick as I could, and I want to share them with you so here it all is!!

Spirituality and Science - this is what Gabriel started with and is essentially what his work is all about; blending the two together. The rest of the lecture stemmed from this concept and he began by discussing veganism.

Holistic Veganism -

This is the evolutionary diet of the future. Spiritual power, ethical power, plant based diet. 
- Did you know that if everyone was vegan there would be enough food to feed the world 7x over ??
- That more people have died of starvation in the last 10yrs than in the past 150yrs on this planet ??
- That food for 100 cows = food for 1000 people, or 2000 children ??
- A plant based diet is quite literally feeding the world.

As a vegan myself I could easily relate to everything that was mentioned in this segment, and how veganism can and has been easily misinterpreted by some, and made into strict rules instead of a way of life by others. As a generalisation, vegans are pretty healthy people. But there can sometimes be holes in the diet when people see it more as a religion than as a science. And that was one major point that I loved hearing. Because I couldn't agree more.
I've seen vegans that are allowing their health to suffer because they refuse to eat something that is not strictly vegan. I classify my diet as vegan but I eat bee pollen because I find it gives me a lot of energy. I eat raw honey because it's a better source of nutrients when I need a sweetener (as opposed to agave or the like). You get my point. 
As for animal flesh, that's not something I'm likely to be tucking into. It doesn't resonate with where I am at now, and I can only speak in present terms, but it;s highly likely it's something I will never return too. The pain, misery, anger, and fear from the animal (due to life conditions, slaughter, death) is introduced into our bodies when we eat them, leading to anger, disease, agitation of mind and body. If you think you can eat meat without taking on all the emotions that animal felt just before it died... 
Plants calm the mind. Enzymes bring in life force. Take it one step further and "LIVE PLANT FOODS bring alkalinity, electricity, more intuition, more sensitivity, can transcend, and brings about more of YOU", says Gabriel. Anyone who eats a strictly live plant diet, or a very high percentage of one, knows this and feels this.

A few other tid-bits I found very interesting:

- there were only 3 diseases in ancient times, and there are 78 new diseases now - all since humans began eating flesh.
- non-athlete vegans have 2-3x more energy and endurance than meat-eating athletes (with live foods this goes up even further)
-  flaxseed oil resonates with sunlight; studies taking flax oil show one can stay in the sunshine 4x longer without getting burnt
- “recent intergenerational research shows on a uniformly poor diet, the offspring of each generation deteriorates...” Abraham Hoffer
- HEALTH; creating order in the system
- ILLNESS; creating chaos/ disorder in the system
- You can upgrade (your diet) at any time (it takes on average 2yrs to fully detox; I have heard this before and I'll let you know how I go with it as my 2yrs on raw is almost here)

Individualising your diet -
Is about determining the best dietary approach for your constitutional type, your metabolic rate, your age, and your lifestyle by looking at fat/protein/carbohydrate ratios in relation to metabolic type and Ayurvedic dosha. "Anyone can be a successful vegan with a diet tailored to his or her specific needs"

Back to the fast-oxidisers and slow-oxidisers thing I spoke about here. So if you're a fast-oxidiser you need more protein, nuts, seeds, spirulina, etc for energy, and if you're a slow-oxidiser you need more carbs for energy (5% of the population according to Gabriel, these are the people that function exceptionally well on a fruitarian diet). Some people do great on high protein, but not everyone, and the same goes with high carbs.

So it begs the question "how do I know what I am?" In Spiritual Nutrition I believe there a long list of questions asked for you to work it out, but you can also narrow it down quite a bit and just ask the following:
Q1. When you're at a buffet bar, do you go for the salad or the nuts/seeds? Where are you drawn?
Q2. After eating what you chose do you feel energised? (Slow oxidisers feel terrible on nuts)
Q3. A few hours later how do you feel? (Fast oxidisers need to eat every few hours)

It's all trial and error, trial and error. I thought I was a fast-oxidiser but in recent weeks I've really sat down to wonder and I'm experimenting. Either this is my error period, or months ago was. Who knows? Not me right now, but that's ok.

With individualising your diet (it is often referred to as "biochemical individuality" which I studied at college a few months ago and found fascinating) there is a lot more than the standard "food pyramid" or "raw food eating" that needs to be taken into consideration. For example, everyone needs iron. However the amount each of us needs is totally different. And what if it's iron absorption issues versus the amount ingested? (Gabriel did mention that checking the hydrochloric acid level in the stomach is of benefit here as if there is an iron absorption issue, there's usually always a hydrochloric acid deficiency).

Then cacao - a substance that I think would be safe to regard as a favourite of a lot of people. But whether you enjoy the flavour or not, it might not agree with your constitution. I love the stuff! But when I'm feeling stressed or anxious (and with that of course comes chocolate cravings), I know it's the last thing my body needs. And I'm sure David Wolfe would disagree with me but it seems Gabriel doesn't. He made mention that cacao consumption is always present with weakened adrenals (and has muscle tested this). So I suppose my body knew this also. On top of that I find cacao addictive - but largely due to the sugar that it is always made with. I know people that feel the need to eat chocolate everyday. But I'm yet to meet anyone that feels the need to eat straight up cacao beans or nibs everyday.
Note: Gabriel also mentioned that diabetics and cacao are a huge no-no! Off the scale detrimental!
And then the lecture turned to a short focus on SUGAR and proved to be very interesting!! Here are a few of my dot-points:

-          No sugar initially for diabetics (nuts, seeds, green, seaweeds, sprouts), stevia and xylitol only, no   agave, no honey, no coconut sugar (which is always cooked)
-          Insulin is the death hormone
-          Insulin accelerates aging
-          Insulin stores excess sugar as triglycerides (fat)
-          Fat = fat
-          Sugar = fat
-          Insulin = osteoporosis
-          Insulin = heart disease
-          Therefore people with the lowest blood sugar live the longest
-          15-25g fructose per day (ie. 1-2 bananas)
-          Low GI fruits
-          FRUCTOSE: cancer cells need it to live; no fruit is allowed in cancer treatments, brain cells are inflamed with fructose
-          Increase risk of diabetes
-          Increases brain activity (with glucose; 20mins after eating)
-          Decreases brain function (with fructose; 20mins after eating)
-          Little is good, excess is not good

Spiritual Nutrition
If your computer is not working how can it transcend? If your mind is not working how can you move into spirituality? A plant-source-only diet can offer immense support to spiritual development. And this is the reason I got into raw foods to begin with. I wanted the spiritual amplification and forward movement that I knew I could never get from cooked foods. And I knew it would be hard to begin with, but it's been worth everyday of it. "A vegan diet, properly conducted, can enhance meditation, help regulate the mind and emotions, and facilitate subtle spiritual unfolding". Hear Hear!!

- Radiation oxidises your brain; leading to depression
- Higher use of nuclear energy = higher rate of depression (Iraq, France)
-  Serotonin excess (psychedelic drugs) cause brain tissue depletion as serotonin oxidises the brain and burns the tissue
Never a real drug taker (asides from alcohol, tobacco and marijuana), I couldn't say I related so far as understood when Gabriel went onto talk about drugs. He said that with a drug, we get a hit of awareness; but it’s not sustained. Drug users are wanting that hit, and getting it, but then it's just as quickly gone. This I have seen and read about and agree with.
So how do we get that hit and keep it? LIVE FOODS!! 
If we find that sustained ‘hit’ (with live foods) the ‘quick fixes’ don’t seem so appealing. When we have inner joy there's a party all the time! And no need to look for outer parties.

Drugs let you know there’s a doorway; spirituality allows you to walk through.
And from there we did an hour of meditation.

Shaktipat Meditation
Shaktipat initiation is the awakening of the divine force that is resting in potential within us. Once the spiritual energy is activated, it begins to spontaneously move through our body, spiritualizing every cell, every aspect of the DNA, every chakra, every nadi (the channels of the subtle nervous system), every organ and every tissue, so that all consciousness becomes activated into the next evolutionary stage.

An amazing day spent in the company of friends both old and new, soaking up information, education, hints and tips, inspiration, knowledge and more. I loved every bit of it and cannot wait to dig into more of Gabriels work in the future.

And a little addition to all those of you curious as to what Gabriel eats on an "average" day (there's no such thing really)

-          Brekkie of chia seeds, goji berries, and tea
-          Lunch consisting of a salad, sprouts, greens, seaweed, avocado
-          Dinner is soup

Peace, Love and Mung Beans to you all. Merry Christmas Eve Eve.

Dec 14, 2011

A Little Less Fruity

It's been a little longer than I had hoped since my last post to you guys however my grandmother who I spoke of in my last post, passed away a week ago and her funeral was yesterday, so it's been a very emotionally draining and upsetting week, and blogging has obviously not been up there on the priorities list.

However, I did promise you a run-down on what I thought of Gabriel Cousins's lecture in Sydney a couple of weeks ago now, and I will deliver, largely in part due to the extensive variety of things spoken about and the fascinating things I learnt that I really want to share with you guys.
I was so excited to go and hear Gabriel speak; I had my paper and pen packed in my bag with a smoothie for brekkie, snacks to nibble on, my water bottle and more, and was ready like a new kid on their first day of school! I saw a few familiar faces as I had expected, but had a few wonderful conversations with people I had never met before as well, which I always love (shout out to Alex!!). A great day all up.

I wanted to sum up everything I took away from his talk (and will later on) but right now there's one big thing that seems to have influenced my eating habits since the talk which i thought would be good to discuss in detail (and I can get to the big summary another time).

How do you burn energy?

This question is the sole reason my eating has taken a drastic turn since hearing Gabriel speak. And it's not something that was directly asked, but it has had me thinking (and in turn trying something new).
According to Gabriel (and many others I'm sure; I've heard the terms used in Metabolic Typing principles),  in terms of energy, and how your body uses it, we're all either a fast-oxidiser or a slow-oxidser.
Some people are fast oxidizers, because they rapidly convert food into energy. In order to balance their systems, fast oxidizers need to eat heavier proteins and fats to that burn slowly. In contrast, slow oxidizers convert food into energy at a slow rate. In order to balance their systems, it's recommended that they eat mainly carbohydrates rather than protein and fat.
Fast-oxidisers typically eat every couple of hours. "Oh I'm definitley a fast oxidiser then" I thought... but then fast-oxidisers function better on a higher protein/lower carb diet. HUH?!?! I thought I functioned best on high carbs! Apparently more of us are better off on a higher protein/lower carb diet, or at least 50/50. And very few (5% infact) are slow-oxidisers whose bodies function and work best on high carbs/low protein. If you're one of those few, then by all means, eat fruit til ur little hearts content! But due to recent happenings in my diet and health, I'm questioning whether that's me or not.

I have thought for a long time that my body functioned much better on a high carb diet; I eat a truckload of fruit after all and feel great for it! I'll eat fruit for brekkie, fruit for snacks, fruit for lunch, and then look forward to a big green salad for dinner, usually followed by a few oranges or a handful of dates (ie more fruit). I have loads of energy, I'm at the gym every second day and doing my own workouts the days I'm not there. I love my workouts and need the sugars to fuel me through. My head feels clear, my body feels clean, and I feel great! Usually...

I used to be able to eat 10-20 dates quite easily.I would have an abundance of energy after that and not need to eat for a few hours. But now... I can barely get through 4 without my head pounding. I have felt this reaction before but little by little it's gotten worse the more I eat. And my intuition is very strong in telling me it's the glucose. Glucose is pure brain food; its the only fuel our brains use. So of course it is needed, but I can understand it's not needed in such high doses over a long period of time. It has felt like total glucose-brain-sugar-overload-inflammatory-pounding! Yep. Not nice. Then I began to feel the same thing after a banana smoothie (in which I'd typically put 6 or 7 bananas in the blender). Hmmm... I thought bananas were mainly fructose, not glucose (the main brain sugar), until I researched it and found that bananas too do infact contain glucose. Ok then. What was I to do? My two diet staples are no longer agreeing with me?!?!

- fructose causes brain cell inflammation
- fructose also increases diabetes, and decreases brain function (shown 20mins after eating)
- glucose increases brain activity (shown 20mins after eating)
- insulin stores excess sugars as triglycerides (which is fat) ; this was an AHA moment for me as my last blood test showed elevated triglycerides and eating a largely fruit based diet, I wondered how that could be so. Now I know.
- cancer cells need fructose to survive (and that's why any alternative cancer treatment will not include any fruits whatsoever)

Those are just a few of the tid-bits Gabriel has come across in his research and studies and made big impacts on me. Be it coincidental or divine timing, this information couldn't have come at a better time. So I decided I had to lay off the fruit a bit, and have been doing so ever since the lecture. Gabriel recommends 15-25g of fructose per day (which I gasped at as this is only 2 bananas), but I thought I'd see how I would go on that. And I've surprised myself!

Since the talk I have decreased my fruit intake considerably; if not almost totally in comparison! That delicious zucchini pasta has featured quite a bit this week in my kitchen. From having 6 bananas and a few dates in a smoothie for brekkie, more dates for morning tea perhaps, or a couple of oranges, more fruit at lunch, mid-afternoon and then some... yesterday my only fruit intake was one small mango and one small banana. Today I've had one banana. Who would have thought! Not me that's for sure. And on Sunday I still went for a morning run after the markets, did 4 hours at work, then 90minutes of hot yoga, and hasve done all my usual gym session this week. No signs of flaking energy as yet.

So what am I having instead? More of everything I used to eat very little of:

- more seeds and a few more nuts
- coconut flesh
- more avocado (almost daily I'm loving it)
- more greens and veggies
- more sprouts
- more coconut oil
- and my home made flax crackers are hitting the spot quite a bit... and these have featured pretty much everyday this week whereas they used to be scattered around a typical week few and far between.

What have I noticed?

- Well the glucose hit to the brain is no longer there.
- I still have loads of energy but I feel a little calmer.
- I'm not hungry as much (I suppose eating carbs every couple of hours had to be done as it's not particularly long lasting energy) .
- I'm eating alot smaller portions (8-banana smoothie would fill me up as much as a handful of nuts is doing now).
- I'm noticing a huge decline in bloating and abdominal upsets, although my bowel motions are a little less than I'd like (working on that whilst allowing it to do it's own thing and catch up)
- No abdominal weight gain (like my thoughts were persuading me would happen if I ate more fat foods and less fruit), and perhaps even a slight shaping up around my mid-section (which if my body is one that functions better with more protein foods and less carbs, would make sense)

But before you jump to conclusions that I'm a recent Gabriel-groupie, I'm the first to admit I get hooked in easily to 'marketing' and other people's opinions if they sound plausible and excited to present their knowledge and experience, so maybe this is just a trial phase for me and I'll find I do function better on carbs (just not such highly concentrated doses - of dates). But at the same time I'm always up for experimentation and trying something new to see what works best for me, and so I can then pass my knowledge and experience on to others. To do as they wish with it.

If you're interested and want more info about Gabriel, what he does, what he's into, and all that jazz, I'd recommend looking into all his work and research yourself. Be warned though - you might get sucked into reading and researching all afternoon and get nothing else done! Ask me how I know...

His website is here -loaded with info and tonnes of stuff to read.
And alot of great YouTube videos of his can be found her.

I will write more about what he spoke about, but for now I'm off to make Xmas Cakes! Thankyou to all who placed their orders in time! Ive got truckloads to make this week and can't wait to get in my kitchen with some Chrissie tunes on!!


Dec 6, 2011

Love Life Raw & Organic

Ok so it's a(nother) miserably cold rainy day for the first week of "Summer" (pfft; I'll believe it when I see it yeh) in Sydney; but a perfect day to be at home in my trakkie-daks to finally knuckle down with some study (and blogging) !!

Last week I told you guys I had ordered a days worth of organic juices from a place in Sydney, purely for curiosity sake as to what it was all about as I have seen a rise in 'juice-cleanses' and such around town with everyone jumping on the detox-bandwagon. I make my own juices usually and I've never actually done the whole get-a-juice-cleanse-delivered-to-your-door-thing, so was keen to give it a go. Only because I stumbled across one place that does 100% organic juice.

The company I ordered from is O-Zone and they are in Mosman, Sydney. I chose their 'Pure Cleanse' because of the juices (not smoothies) and price (mid-range), but they offer 3 different types of cleanses. Luckily I don't work too far from there so delivery was free and came nice and early (you can specify as to when you'd like delivery) to work on Wednesday morning; I was giddy like a little kid in a lolly shop with excitement!
I got my very own little green cooler bag filled with 4x 500ml organic juices, 2 organic coconut waters, 2 loose-leaf herbal tea sacks (yep, these are way cooler than tea bags folks), and a noni/aloe/filtered water mix to start my day. I wasn't particularly keen on how that would taste not being either a noni or aloe fan, but I was pleasantly surprised... for half the bottle... then the rest just got necked back!

Happiest little bee at 730am on a Wednesday...

BUT... (and no, there is not always a but) as an unfortunate series of events unfolded that day (and unexpected excrutiating period pain that was close to debilitating), I kept on with my juices (herbal teas, essential oils, tissue salts, visualisations, you name it!) but had a few medjool dates mid morning, and a couple more later on. I had bad news call me, then couldn't get out of babysitting that evening, but the adorable family I sit for bought me the latest Wellbeing and Yoga Journal magazines to read whilst dying on their lounge, and their beautiful girl made me a drawing and a card. Awww. I was very touched by their kindness.

So anyway, the juice day would have been totally wonderful if not the few thing that kinda shook me up, but I was very impressed and happy with the service, juices, quantities and price!

Today I actually wanted to write all about Gabriel Cousins lecture in Sydney last Sunday... but I'm going to save that for a few days coz I really want to get a few things off my chest here and would love your feedback.
So fair warning here I can be a bit of a rambler - but it seems that no matter if (to me) my ramblings seem a little disjointed and all over the shop - they seem to resonate well with others (maybe we all have a little scatter-brain inside) so allow me to ramble...

Only this morning someone very close to me said "I think you're really stressed" - and followed it with "I don't think you're breathing" -
two very strong yet gentle pieces of prose. And only in hearing such did I stop to think maybe they were spot on.
Ok I know I've got alot on my plate at the moment juggling extra work shifts, trying desperately to fit my studies in which always seem to get pushed aside, and on top of that my personal studies (college work aside) to research and follow up on things that get my insides bubbling with excitement!! Then there's my training that I love and go mad without, helping mum out with her yoga assessments playing guinea pig, taking orders and making xmas cakes, blogging, and only recently remembering I need to fit in my prac hours for college too somewhere! Ontop of worrying and dashing to and from the hospital for an ill family member, which I've been very lucky to have never experienced before, but it really takes it's toll on you. Like now. It's the one day I can study this week. Every other day is a right off with work, appointments, making cakes, work again, a xmas do I need to make more food for, then work again... and I get a call that maybe I should go to the hospital coz it's not looking so good... But it wasn't looking good 3 days ago when we were there all afternoon and evening... but it was great yesterday. It's up and down. I have faith. But at the same time I don't want to have regrets. I don't want to sound like a whinging bitch with "too much on" to see a sick loved one. But when I get to the point where one mention of a change in plans brings me to tears and in a panic, something's gotta give or I'll break! I've got to say no to something but from my vision it appears I cant say no to any of it just yet - it's all as important. If anything, my study is what always gets the "no", but I love it so not doing it plays on my mind in terms of falling behind, but also because it gives me great joy that I keep missing out on. When it's me and my books, the words, (the laptop,) reading, writing, learning, and getting so excited by new things I discover!! It's when I don't have the time to do that, everything seems hard, and tough, and not so fun, and long, and never ending - "where's my study day?"

"Just make sure you're eating right and getting enough sleep" was advice from the man I love, and it's probably very good advice. What else can you do? I'm the first to suggest to others that maybe they are doing too much; particularly easy to see when one's health is suffering. But it's almost as if until there are true physical signs of deteriorating health, we don't do or change anything! "It wont happen to me" mentality. And for the most part, that's not me at all. I'm very good with my health. I can honestly and easily say it's one of my top values. But it's the stress-side of things that I'm still trying to learn about and understand. At one point I sincerely thought I had never experienced stress in my life. Only later I came to realise I had more than likely lived with it everyday of my life from about age 7, only a much milder version that I was completely unaware of. But long term milder stress is no way better than short term chronic stress.

So that;s my rambling... now I'll get into my study and pump out as much as I can with a smile on my face, and decide about the hospital later. I wouldn't be going right this minute anyways, so why think and worry about it now?

If you have any hints, tips, suggestions, things that work for you, stories of your own, please share as I would love to hear them. Thanks for listening to my ramblings :) I'll write up about Gabriel Cousins later this week if I can find the time to do so. It was an amazing talk overflowing with valuable information I cannot wait to share with you guys!

Nov 29, 2011

Free Ebook for Summer

So the Raw Xmas Cake orders keep coming on through so thank you. I'll sure have a busy kitchen in a few weeks time! You should see the size of the mixing bowl I bought yesterday especially for it! WOW!

Anyways, tomorrow I'm very much looking forward to a day of juicing, but this time I've decided to do it through an organic juicing company to see what they're like. So I'll have the days worth delivered to my door at work tomorrow morning and shall take it from there! My body is itching for it! And yes only a day this week. Brock and I will be doing a longer stint next week (or the week after) so stay tuned and I'll be sure to keep you all in the loop.

But for now I wanted to give you guys the opportunity to download a free ebook from Botanical Cuisine. It's the Summer 2011 tour and if you remember reading and seeing pics from it here and here, I know you've been hanging out for these recipes!

So download, and enjoy! A few icy cold desserts in there will be winners as Sydney's temperatures continue to climb and Summer is only 2 days away!!! My personal fav; the Chocolate Mousse (which I recently did with mammee sapote in place of mango and oh my god - enough said). Nomnomnomnomnom  :)

Nov 22, 2011

Raw Xmas Fruit Cake

Fancy yourself a RAW VEGAN XMAS CAKE this year?

Made with love and 100% raw organic ingredients

Individual 200g cakes - $12.50 each   
Family 700g cakes - $40.00 each

Ingredients: organic almonds, organic cashews, organic coconut, organic medjool dates, organic sultanas, organic dried cranberries, organic turkish apricots, organic walnuts, organic pecans, fresh organic orange juice, fresh organic lemon juice, organic orange rind, organic lemon rind, organic ginger, organic dark agave, organic cinnamon, sea salt

If you live in Sydney and would like to get your hands on one of these delicious cakes, this is what you have to do: 

1. Email me at 
2. Be sure to include the size and quantity you would like 
3. I will email you payment details, and once that has come through, I will confirm your order with you
4. Your cake/s will be ready for pick up from Crows Nest anytime from Monday December 19th

Orders need to be placed by Friday December 9th, and cake pick ups from Crows Nest will be ready from Monday December 19th.

100% organic
100% raw
100% vegan
100% good for your soul

Nov 15, 2011

Nettle Pop Up Restaurant

Ok a busy week doing assessments for college but I promised you guys a sneak peak into the world of Botanical Cuisine. 

Those regular readers will know that I've posted on Botanical Cuisine and an amazing 8-course raw vegan degustation menu before here and here, but those unfamiliar I'll do a quick explanation.

Botanical Cuisine is an simplified approach to life and food that is focused on all things artistic and heirloom, where organic, seasonal produce is enough to please the eyes and the palate. Botanical Cuisine draws its inspiration and ingredients from the wealth of flavours, textures and nutrition found in the plant kingdom to create dishes that are raw, lactose-free, egg-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and adaptable enough to accommodate any allergy.

Botanical Cuisine is the business and creative genius of Omid Jaffari - a great friend of mine he is also brilliant in the kitchen (his Shiitake blog is full or incredible recipes you've gotta try). And what he brings to the table is something very different to what I've seen out there in the raw food world. Typically you've either got beginner basics with smoothies and juices, or the heavy nut-based 'gourmet' raw foods. Now if you're like me, past the smoothie basics and don't tend to eat alot of the gourmet stuff, you're in the kitchen on your own (making a delicious mess, getting creative, having fun nevertheless...)

So, Omid's food is probably somewhere half way between the two but with a huge emphasis on presentation and trying new things (which to be fair can seem a little tricky at first, but once you've tried it once, and nailed it, you can leave confident in showing off your skills at home to impress those closest to you. And let me tell you, they'll definitley be impressed!!)).

So a few weeks back we had Sydney's pop-up restaurant Nettle. I had weeks of organising to do for it but the few days of food prep before - I was happily holidaying here in Queensland. Lucky me! But Friday came and it was all hands on deck. We started early (after my run of course), and packed the car and drove over to Manly to begin setting up; the beautiful Georgia from Stirring Change who I was so eager to meet and instantly clicked with, Omid and I all began finishing food prep, dismantling the furniture then re-designing the furniture the way we wanted it (try hauling antique tables and chairs, carpets, stools, and more all into one room we could shut up and lock!!), organising flowers, table cloths, place settings, glasses, cutlery, candles, menus, cleaning, the order of the evening... then Amelie Kale (yes best last name ever I know) arrived just in time for juice down at Pure Wholefoods when Omid and I decided we needed a break, Georgia's sister also came over to help out and whilst having a shitload of laughs, a few o-oh moments, and last minute showers, we managed to get everything done and looking fabulous just in the nick of time.

And then the guests began arriving. We had about 30 guests in total, and offered nettle tea was a welcome drink whilst overlooking Manly Wharf before we led the guests into the dining room.


Entree - Semi dried tomato with dehydrated black olive tapenade
Main - Mushroom Bouillon with truffles
Palate Cleanser - Mango and Lime Granita
Dessert - Strawberry Crumble with White Licorice Ice Cream
Melbourne Nights - Layered Hazelnut Fudge, Rosewater Vanilla Butter, & Coffee Caramel dipped in Bitter Orange and Chilli Chocolate

This was the entree - a mouthful of tomato that gently burst when bitten into allowing the sweet juices to pour on to your palate, with touches of chilli, pepper and citrus served warm on a bed of dehydrated black olives and capers...

And then main course - Mushroom Bouillon. Shitake, swiss brown and shimjei mushrooms marinated for hours in a delicious bouillon, served with cauliflower rice and truffle oil...

Plating up the Strawberry Crumbles... cashew and mesquite base, with a warm strawberry citrus jam, lavender flowers -

Served with white licorice ice cream and a dusting of lavender salt. This dish is incredible... and the recipe can be found here

But to top it off (as with Omid's events you'll come to realise that as each dish comes out, it seems to be the new favourite. Better than the last. Better than that one. So hold off until the end)... Melbourne Nights. Can you wait a little for this one? Allow me to indulge in the best foodie vocabulary I can further down when I talk about Melbourne; where this little guy stole the show!

So... Melbourne! We did the same gig, same menu on a Friday night a week later, and yep the manic prep days leading up to was exactly the same, and this time we had 43 guests!! The venue was an amazing artist space in Richmond that we dressed up with tables, chairs, table cloths, an amazing florist's work, mismatched antique cutlery... very Melbourne.

 Ooh and yep - that's me!!

 So, of course there was the food prep. Tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes...

... to be turned into these beauties again.

Main course was the Mushroom Bouillon, and always a taste-bud favourite.

Melting our specially made bitter orange chilli chocolate whilst restraining ourselves from eating it all straight from the bag...which wasn't completely successful (of course)

And then covering the Melbourne Nights in it...

(done ahead of guest arriving... and taste-tested for good measure).
Then the strawberry crumble's were crumbled from their perfect circles ahead of service...

to be turned into the sweet delicious dessert that they were..

 And then of course, the Melbourne Nights.

So to really appreciate this creamy, rich, sweet chocolatey morsel; you first carefully take a small breaking through the crisp bitter orange chilli chocolate coating. There's an amazing coffee taste, and sweet caramel, the chocolate so rich with flavour, then a hint of rosewater... 

 Layered Hazelnut Fudge, Rosewater Vanilla Butter, & Coffee Caramel dipped in Bitter Orange and Chilli Chocolate

A mild black chai the perfect accompaniment to such a rich dessert that keeps on giving and giving and giving... (note to self only have ONE next time)

So as I mentioned earlier, “Nettle” is the newly anticipated pop up venture, conceived by the Botanical Cuisine Crew. I'm the event organiser for both Sydney and Melbourne so was extremeley happy with how everything turned out, and more importantly how all the guests loved every teeny tiny bit of food they put in their mouths. You know you've done your job well when they walk away deliciously full with taste buds wanting more!!

Anita, Natalia, Omid, Myself and Andrea - the Melbourne team

So the next Nettle is down in Melbourne and looks to be another winner! If you're interested in flying down for it or you're already a Melbourn-ian, have a look here for more details.