Monday, 24 September 2018

Deliciously Ella Plant Based Recipes

I don't know about you, but I am a total sucker for cookbooks. Sure, blogs and websites and instagram are all awesome inspiration and I regularly end up recreating dishes or even just condiments and seasonings I've seen online, but nothing beats the loveliness of a solid, old-fashioned cookbook.
plant based ella cookbook

My new kitchen helper is Deliciously Ella The Plant-Based Cookbook by Ella Mills (Woodward), published by Hachette Australia (RRP $32.99). All photographs by Nassima Rothacker.

The following recipes are my favourites from the book. I'd love you to tag me if you make them and want to share a photo to instagram! I'm at @cat13gram.

Vegan Deliciously Ella Plantbased Recipe Lentil Balls

HERBED LENTIL BALLS
WITH TOMATO RELISH
AND GARLIC CREAM


I know these may sound a little strange, but they taste amazing – especially
sitting in a bed of tomato relish and dressed with garlic cream. They’re
full of flavour thanks to the thyme, rosemary, parsley, garlic and onion.
I love them served simply with some brown rice and salad.

MAKES 10

150g dried green lentils
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
handful of parsley, roughly
chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
salt and pepper
for the tomato relish
6 tablespoons tomato purée
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
100ml water
handful of parsley
pinch of ground cumin
pinch of chilli powder
pinch of smoked paprika
for the garlic cream
100g cashews, soaked for at least
3 hours then drained
10 tablespoons almond milk
3 garlic cloves, roasted (see
page 35)
splash of lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 200.C (fan 180.C).

Start by placing the lentils in a pan of boiling water. Cook for
20–25 minutes until tender but still with a slight bite. Once cooked,
drain and leave to cool to room temperature.

While the lentils are cooking, place the onion and garlic in a pan
over a medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and cook
for 5–10 minutes, until soft. Then leave to cool to room temperature.

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until
it forms a thick paste. Scoop balls of the mixture out of the food
processor using an ice-cream scoop, smooth them a little by rolling
them in your hands if you like, then place them on a baking tray
and bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes. Check the lentil balls are
cooked through by inserting a knife into the middle of one ball –
if it comes out clean they’re ready, if not bake for a little longer.

While the balls are in the oven, prepare the tomato relish and garlic
cream. Simply place all of the ingredients for the relish in a food
processor and some salt and pulse until smooth. Then do the same
for the garlic cream, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve the
lentil balls piled high with the relish and garlic cream.

TIP
These are delicious served warm straight out the oven – if you’re
doing that then gently warm the tomato relish too.

Vegan Deliciously Ella Plantbased Recipe

YELLOW THAI CURRY


Aubergines are one of my favourite ingredients to use in a curry as they
soak up all of the flavours like a sponge. I’ve lost count of how many
bowls of this curry I’ve eaten in the last few years; when I’m having a
busy week I pop into the deli and devour a bowl with brown rice – it’s
warming, hearty and always keeps me going for hours. This one also
happens to be one of Matt’s favourites too.

SERVES 4

for the curry paste
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
1 red chilli, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger,
peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 lemongrass stalk, bashed and
roughly chopped
1 lime leaf
31/2 tablespoons coconut oil

for the curry
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut
into bite-sized chunks
1 large aubergine, cut into bitesize
pieces
100g button mushrooms
100g baby corn, cut in half
olive oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 x 400g tins of coconut milk
(see tip on page 174)
1 tablespoon tamari
handful of Thai basil,
roughly chopped
salt

Preheat the oven to 240.C (fan 220.C).

Place all of the paste ingredients in a food processor and blitz
until smooth.

Place the peppers, aubergine, mushrooms and baby corn in a baking
tray with a little olive oil and salt. Roast in the oven for 10–15 minutes,
so that they take on a bit of colour, then remove and leave to one side.

Next, place the coconut oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium
heat. Once hot, add the curry paste and cook for 5 minutes until
soft. Add the coconut milk and tamari and bring to the boil – then
lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and
blitz using a hand blender, then pass through a sieve to remove any
unwanted bits (if needed). Place back on to a medium heat and
add the roasted vegetables, then cook for a final 5 minutes. Try not
to overcook this curry – the sauce only needs this short cooking time
and there is a chance it could form a layer of oil on top if you cook
it for longer and reduce it too much.

Once everything is cooked through, sprinkle with a handful of chopped
Thai basil.

TIP
You could make a double batch of this curry and freeze half for
another day. It freezes so well and is really easy to cook straight
from the freezer – just place it into an oven set at 200C (fan 180C)
for 20–25 minutes until cooked through.


SPICY MISO AUBERGINE AND BROCCOLI SALAD


This salad was a real hit in the deli, and it’s one of my go-tos as well.
We used to serve it cool, but have recently discovered a new love of
serving it warm, straight out the oven and couldn’t recommend that
more. The dressing is partly what makes this so good and I use it a lot
in other dishes – the ginger, miso, sesame and lime mix is a real winner.

SERVES 2
AS A MAIN DISH,
4 AS A SIDE

2 medium aubergines, chopped
into bite-sized chunks
1 large head of broccoli, chopped
into florets
pinch of chilli flakes
handful of coriander, chopped
handful of sesame seeds
salt and pepper
for the miso dressing
4 tablespoons miso paste
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger,
peeled and grated

Preheat the oven to 240ºC (fan 220ºC).

For the dressing, blitz the miso, lime juice, vinegar, sesame oil,
ginger and some salt and pepper in a blender until smooth. If
you don’t have a blender, dissolve the miso paste in a tablespoon
of boiling water then stir through the other dressing ingredients.

In a large baking tray, mix the aubergine with the dressing and
roast for 30–35 minutes. At this point, remove the tray from the
oven and switch the oven over to the grill setting. Mix the broccoli
florets with the aubergine, then place the tray back in the oven for
another 10 minutes until the broccoli is lightly charred on top and
the aubergine is soft and golden.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, place in a serving bowl
and sprinkle with the chilli flakes, coriander and sesame seeds
before serving.





Monday, 27 August 2018

Hair And Scalp Health: Preventing thinning, Repairing Damage. The Tried & Tested Products

hair health scalp health coloured hair damage repair

I've always had a wild mane of LOTS of hair, but it's quite thin and prone to breakage. I'm also prone to an itchy, irritated scalp. Training daily, putting my head on foreign yoga mats and a habit of touching and playing with my hair all make it much worse!

There's a zillion and two hair brands and products all on the shelves right now that claim to treat dandruff, soothe a sensitive scalp, make hair grow longer, halt thinning and more. But how many of them are legit? I can't honestly answer, because I don't have the time or funds to trial a zillion and two things. But I do try a lot of hair products and I only stick with what I genuinely find works for my hair. I have naturally red-brown brunette hair, curly and dry. It's a pain in the butt to style and I insist on dyeing it all the colours (that's my latest "do" below) so it's even more in need of conditioning treatments and care than most.

VIVISCAL

For the past year, I've been taking Viviscal supplements daily. I tend to notice a much greater impact on my nails than my hair, but I have certainly noticed considerably less split ends and the strands appear to be a little thicker than before. Jennifer Aniston swears by it and it has multiple clinical trials to back up its effectiveness so it certainly can't do any harm to try it.

DIET

healthy hair diet plant based
The key to a healthy hair and scalp is much more internal than external. In addition to any supplements, you need to ensure you're consuming adequate quality proteins like beans, legumes, tofu and tempeh if you're vegan or organic beef, fish and eggs if you're not. A rainbow of vegetables and fruits, plus B vitamin rich carbs will also feed your hair, scalp and skin generally.

I eat a super colourful, varied vegan diet with plenty of healthy fats and proteins (tempeh, tofu and veggie burgers plus a vegan protein powder in my smoothies). I have also been washing my hair every 3 to 4 days because too often strips the hair of its natural oils and leaves it damaged and prone to further breakage. I also try to leave it out when I'm not training so that I don't pull it at the roots constantly (traction damage).

TREATMENTS

There's four brands I recommend and their particular ranges that work for my hair. I tried each for several weeks to be sure I saw measured improvement in my hair. The products you don't see listed made a lot of promises and yet, they left my hair greasy, or my scalp was itchy a day later, or they stripped my hair of any moisture and left it brittle. Here's the gold medallists.

alfaparf hair scalp hair growth reconstruction

Alfaparf Milano Reconstruction Range

The whole goal of the Reconstruction range was to protect hair against environmental damage, including pollution and harsh styling regimes. It's perfect for my hair because it also enhances coloured hair and prevents fading. The whole range is formulated with bamboo marrow to strengthen the hair fiber. I won't lie - the deep marine green colour is super chic and displaying it on my bathroom shelf makes me happy. Thankfully it also smells divine and actually leaves my hair really smooth and shiny. It's much easier to dry and straighten and so far, my purple and pink colour has stayed strong. I use the shampoo followed by the masque and one ampoule of the treatment every week. I also use the leave-in serum after styling.
Find the range here.

After using the shampoo and hair mask, my bright purple colour was exactly as bright as it was on the first day. My hair dried smooth and soft too, as opposed to the Kramer-like fuzz I sometimes deal with.


green people vegan organic haircare cruelty free

Green People Organic Irritated Scalp Range


Quinoa in my shampoo? Sure. If Green People says it's the way to go, I'm all for it. It makes sense. It's rich in protein, vitamins and minerals which are all elements the hair needs. I swear by the Irritated Scalp Shampoo and Conditioner. They're certified organic, vegan and cruelty free. Lavender and rosemary naturally soothe an itchy scalp and there's no toxic scents or preservatives. It's perfect for adults but also really good for kids, especially if typical hair products cause scalp irritation or itchiness.

Less Is More organic haircare scalp protein natural hair

Less Is More (Organic and Natural)

Just like Green People, Less Is More is all about a natural, gentle approach to scalp and hair care. The products are all organic, with gorgeous minimal packaging. The big selling point, apart from how genuinely good they are for my hair, is how divine the scents are! I use Chitinspray daily - it smells like a citrus garden with hints of rose and aloe vera. Totally heavenly. Flower Whip is a mix of orange, rose, ylang ylang and aloe - a styling cream that I work into my hair when it's wet and just leave to dry. Perfect for warmer weather. The Herbal Tonic and Protein Spray are ideal for both soothing my scalp and the Protein Spray in particular for after I've had my hair bleached and coloured. 


Friday, 15 June 2018

Denise Payne: Fearlessness And Mercy

denise payne yoga bali

In the 1970s, as a teenager, Denise Payne was introduced to Kundalini Yoga by her teacher Sat Jiwan Singh. It became more than “a life saver”. Yoga became her life’s work through practice and teaching. Many Australian and international yogis have met Denise through her regular Power Yoga and Yin classes at The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali. When not speaking (not entirely fluent) Indonesian or Sanskrit, there is the obvious accent that serves to remind that Denise is originally from Phoenix, Arizona.

It was in Portland, Oregon – her home of 10 years - that she owned Yoga Bhoga and campaigned for the working rights of yoga teachers to continue as contractors. This is also where her son, 14-year-old Charlie was born.

Denise has a rich and nuanced understanding of yoga which culminates in classes where stories from the Bhagavad Gita are seamlessly interwoven with smart anatomical and energetic cueing, sutras and explorations into bandhas, mudras and pranayama.

denise payne yoga bali
At 55, Denise has become even more physically strong and her inversion practice continues unabated. Her motto of being fearless, brave and loving life emanates beyond words and into practice. She holds regular Yoga Teacher Trainings in Jakarta and Ubud, and has travelled worldwide to host training, workshops and courses. Throughout the year, she runs Yoga Teacher Training, enabling Yoga Barn regulars and those who are new to her teaching to be enriched by her experience in yoga practice, teaching and teacher training for over 30 years. 

Whether it is her thorough knowledge of the chakras and nadis, or the art of mudra, there are many aspects of yoga which are not commonly taught either in classes nor the standard 200 hour Yoga Teacher Trainings in Australia. Denise’s particular focus is on the koshas and their relation to every other aspect of yoga and life. The body, breath, mind, inner wisdom and sense of bliss are integral to the experience of living yoga on and off the mat. In Bali, the spiritual life is not an afterthought – it is in the morning and evening rituals, the approach to nature, food, dance, art and life. This has been attracting Australian yogis, surfers and spiritual seekers for decades.

While Denise has best been known for her Power Yoga practice, chakras and mudras workshops over the past 8 years at Yoga Barn, and prior through One Song in Portland, she has also won over many yogis with her meditative approach to Yin Yoga. She describes the experience of Yin as “a deeper conversation with the body and the self”.

Yoga has become even more of a sanctuary for Denise now that she has moved back to the United States after 8 years of living in Ubud, Bali. As anyone who has faced a major move or life event knows, the practice of yoga can provide a sense of groundedness in uncertain and challenging times.

Denise took time between teaching, planning an upcoming Ubud Teacher Training and finalising her book on Yin Yoga to answer questions.

How old were you and how did you first discover yoga?

I was 8 years old when I first met my teacher and 15 when I was first introduced to Kundalini yoga. I was kind of a sick kid that wasn't allowed to do anything really, and being introduced to that was literally a life saver.

Do you feel that you chose to be a teacher or that it was almost inevitable once you immersed yourself in study with your teacher?

Teaching has always come naturally to me, and my teacher, Sat Jiwan Singh was very pushy and determined to get me teaching, as well. But I never thought yoga would turn into what it is today. Back in the 70's you did it in a back room, and didn't really talk about it to friends!

Your classes weave the yamas, niyamas, stories of the Bhagavad Gita, the yoga sutras, chakras and koshas into a vinyasa context. Is this a challenge?

The wonderful qualities of yoga open us up to always learning and studying some new aspect. As I continue to grow and evolve, so do the elements I bring into a class. I do strongly believe in the power of the combination of philosophy and asana, and it's always a work in progress. 
When you first moved to Ubud, you initially planned to write rather than teach. How did you come to join Yoga Barn?

I did want to write, but was really without direction! About 3 months in, I was lucky enough to become friends with Meghan Pappenheim, one of the founders of The Yoga Barn. The rest is history!

What are the challenges of teaching short-term, international yogis in Bali?

I really appreciate this question. There is a lot to be said for the regular students I had at my schools in Portland. It was a natural progression for us over the years. In any given class during the week the most incredible yogis would show up to practice. In Ubud, I feel more of a sense of urgency with students at times. If I feel I really have something to offer any particular student I'll ask them how long they're in town for, I'll give them homework and always ask that they email me with their progress. I also ask for requests before every class to ensure I'm working on what they want to work on; maybe I have some fresh ideas for their technique.

The physical asana practice can take a toll on the body. Have you altered your practice at all to prevent injuries or overuse?

Honestly. Cat, it's yoga that helps me recover from injuries from doing things other than yoga! I just turned 55 and I' so grateful for the practice. It's something I'm always making progress with and there’s always work to be done. I'm actually relearning handstands right now to change my technique. I think it would be tough to do that if I didn't have all the years of yoga keeping me strong.

Yin yoga is being embraced by major gym chains here in Australia. Can you tell me what role yin yoga plays in the system of yoga compared to styles such as Power Yoga and typical Hatha yoga?

That's really cool to hear that it's becoming more mainstream in your neck of the woods. Yin is so new, relatively speaking, that interpretation is up for grabs and just about anyone can teach it. I think the tattvas, or principles of yin yoga, are essentially the same as a yang practice in many ways. Stillness, holding poses, finding the edge in a pose can be translated equally in both styles. The breath, as I do recommend a soft breath in a yang practice, the meditative qualities, as well can play a roll. Because yin transcends the yang elements of the physical body, slowly creeping into those nooks and crannies of the plastic parts, the role of yin becomes more about a deeper conversation with the body and the self. I love to support a daydreamy type atmosphere, in fact, and allow for the students minds to wander. This might get some thumbs down in the comment box. But, seriously, Cat, daydreaming is a lost art. We are so busy being mindful, or scrolling, or whatever. Yin offers the perfect environment for such an important and healing practice like mind-wandering/mindlessness.

Tell me about Waheguru and how this affects your approach to daily life and meditation?

Waheguru translates to Wonderful Teacher. Everything is Waheguru. Samadhi, the 8th limb of Astanga yoga is Samadhi, which means to See Equally. To see equally, one must let go of any judgement and increase their compassion 1000 fold. When you begin to see equally, you see that everything is your wonderful teacher with no judgement. Waheguru!

One of my most memorable moments in class with you was being half-way into the splits and you recounted the story of Hanuman leaping.

I'm so glad you remember that! The philosophy is vast and many teachers play with it so well! I have my moments, glad you were there to witness one of them. But me, I'm a great big chakra geek. It's how I see students, how i sequence, and most of the language I use in class revolves around the system of the sacred chambers. Every now and again I'll bust out a story, a few weeks ago it was Trivikrama, however my chakras studies never end, so I always have something new to work with in class. There are so many dimensions to the physical practice and so many elements to focus on for students. That’s the magic of hatha yoga.
The book that you had intended to write when you first moved to Ubud... how’s that going?

Well that book will get written someday. In the meantime I have a gorgeous book coming out on Yin yoga and myofascial release work. It’s based on a class I've been teaching for almost 15 years. Hopefully it's in full swing by the time this article is published.

Thankyou. Waheguru.


denise payne yoga teacherWaheguru.

Denise is holding Yoga Teacher Training at The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali in September. More details on her site at http://www.denisepayneyoga.com

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Stress Hormones: How to combat belly fat, bloating and blemishes

stress hormones belly fat blemishes acne health
In over 10 years of teaching, I've been asked the same few questions repeatedly. Two of the most common are:

  • How do I fix blemishes/acne/dry skin?
  • How do I target excess belly weight?

Now, as we all should know, I don't buy into body hate and shaming and guilt. Women naturally have curves and a tendency to hold weight around the belly and hips because women are designed to create, house and nourish new human life within their bodies. That's pretty amazing. Whether you choose to have children or not, your body is engineered for it.

That said, there's a fine balance to find between functional and healthy amount of particular hormones and the sort of irregularity and imbalance that will lead to a cycle of nasty symptoms that indicate hormonal problems and that lead to MORE hormonal imbalances if not addressed through lifestyle.

The culprit - in all my discussions with medical and natural health practitioners, and in my personal experience - is the stress hormone, cortisol. An excess of cortisol leads to inflammation within the body, creating dramas with digestion, sleep, mood, acne and blemishes, insatiable appetite, cravings, bloating and weight gain particularly around the belly and hips.

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands (in the kidney area). It isn't all bad! Cortisol is produced to enable the body to handle and respond to danger. It is also heightened during exercise or at the beginning of the day to put the body into a more alert state.


Too much cortisol results in a number of symptoms, including weight gain around the face and abdomen, thin and easily broken skin, acne, bones more vulnerable to fracture and breaking, depressed mood, increased facial hair and irregular periods.

Some medications can mimic cortisol, including some asthma medication and topical steroid creams or steroidal drugs.

What can you do to prevent excessive cortisol and a crappy mood, bloated belly and tired, dull skin? Here's some simple steps. Take one at a time, or all at once:

  • Stop the extra long workouts. No wonder your body believes your under pressure and in need of hormones to cope with stress if you're forcing yourself through training regimes that run over 90 minutes
  • Cut the coffee. Sure, addictive, sure. But if you want to sleep and look 10 years younger, stop.
  • Eat wholefoods. Organic wherever possible, but maintain a diet where at least 80% of your food is a plant that you can recognise as exactly the same as it was on the tree or in the earth (powdered beetroot doesn't count)
  • Take high-quality supplements if your diet is restricted at all (vegan protein, omega 3 supplements, vitamin D if you don't get much sun, multivitamins)
  • Did I mention Omega 3 supplements?
  • Eat a high fibre diet to maintain good gut health
  • Take adaptogenic herbs: licorice root tea or medicinal mushrooms are easy to find at health food stores or online
  • Take 5 minutes every morning and/or evening to sit quietly, eyes closed and breathe fully into the belly then slowly out again. Set a phone timer if you need.
  • Get away from screens. Put the phone down.
  • Go to yoga - any type.
  • Do pilates
  • Dance
  • Laugh
  • Omega 3 supplements (seriously, though)
Image from Wholefood Merchants, Melbourne

Monday, 26 February 2018

New To Vegan Life: Meeting Nutritional Needs


vegan nutrition

Are you a Negan (New Vegan)? Welcome to the club.

I have been eating mostly plant-based meals for over a decade but it is a new choice to consume a purely vegan diet. I had been safe in my knowledge that chicken, fish and yoghurt were enabling me to earn top marks on my blood test results. B12? Iron? Calcium? Gold stars!

While it can take a little more planning and awareness around combining plant based foods to ensure you are meeting your nutritional needs for optimum health, once you understand which foods have the highest quality of calcium, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, zinc and protein, you can go wild with exploring flavours knowing that within each week, you're ticking all the boxes.
plant based cat woods

For me, I know the foods I really love and rely upon for essential nutrients, but I have a bad habit of not incorporating enough variety and adventure into my meals. I can get into a rut of the same thing daily for a week! That said, have you discovered purple sweet potato? If any food is worthy of a 12-step program, purple sweet potato is it.

Still. I digress.

Plant Based Meals For Inspiration and Convenience

To save myself from my own boring routines, I have ordered a Soulara delivery to get me through just over a week. I hugely recommend this meal delivery service to anyone and everyone, whether you're vegan or not. Having trialled a range of meal delivery services over the past few years, I can honestly say this is a no-fails option that is totally fresh, totally organic, and genuinely delicious. It doesn't feel like diet food and the serving sizes will genuinely satiate your appetite (not aeroplane-meal sized like some delivery services).
soulara meal delivery

The great benefit of a meal delivery service for me (and you!) is that I can explore a variety of vegan meals and get a true sense of what I really love so that I'm inspired to get into the kitchen and create meals based on those flavours and ingredients. When I go to Ubud, Bali, I eat purely plant based meals and mostly raw food too. It is energising, it connects me deeply to the earth and it feels good in my belly and my body. Soulara is the closest I've come to home-delivered plant based meals that transport me straight back to a table overlooking rice paddies and yoga studios. Check out their Instagram for food inspiration.
soulara plant based meals

Common Nutritional Deficiencies In A Vegan Diet

I recently went to the doctor for blood tests and under "Health Conditions" she listed "Vegan". I'm not sure this is typically considered an ailment! However, if you aren't doing your research and maintaining an eye on your calcium, iron and B12 levels, then you'll feel like being a vegan truly is an ailment. Apart from reading as much as you can and educating yourself, it's entirely worth making an appointment with a dietitian or nutritionist who has expertise in vegan or vegetarian diets. They can advise - based on your gender, age, height, weight, general health and level of activity - what your nutritional needs are and how to meet them.
vitamins vegan

The most common nutritional deficiency is B12 because this is purely available in animal based products (meat, seafood, dairy). The most reliable vegan source of B12 is nutritional yeast or fortified milks. Alternatively, a supplement is your best bet. But ignoring B12 is dangerous. B12 is linked to mood, the nervous system and also works co-operatively with B9 (folic acid) to enable optimal absorption of iron. Calcium is vital to healthy bones and muscles. Especially important for women. There are many fortified milks (almond, soy often have "Calcium Fortified" on the label where this is the case). There's no question you can meet your protein requirements easily with soy based proteins such as tofu and tempeh but spirulina, peas, hemp seeds, brown rice and quinoa, chickpeas and beans also provide rich sources of organic protein. Again though, see a dietitian for a personalised plan. Once you know how to meet the requirements of your body, you can confidently go it alone. It's definitely worth telling your GP you are vegan so that they can keep an eye on your blood test results (in the first year, worth doing this every few months).

Supplements

There's a good argument that you can meet your every nutritional need with wholefoods. But since the quality of food, soil and produce is not 100% reliable due to production and farming measures, it's absolutely worth investing in some supplements to ensure you're giving your body every opportunity to be well.
evening primrose oil

I am not a huge fan of turmeric as a flavouring so I'm very happy to take it in supplement form. My pick is Alitura Revitalize which contains ingredients based on Chinese Medicine, Western and Eastern Science. Turmeric, He Shou Wu (iron and zinc), chaga and reishi mushrooms (immune system and anti-ageing properties). I also take Evening Primrose Oil (Sports Research brand) which is rich in healthy fats for glowing skin and is also championed as support for women experiencing painful menstruation. Don't opt for any brand please - if you're going to spend on supplements, make sure you go with a high-quality product that's worth your dollars. I get my vitamins from Vibeality - the best spot to find Sports Research and Alitura brand in Oz. 
alitura


Raw & Organic Vegan Essentials

The raw deal ingredients

Long Jetty in New South Wales has a lot of healthy selling points - the divine yoga studio/cafe Modern Organic as well as the raw and organic food, home and lifestyle store The Raw Deal. Since I'm only in Long Jetty for short stints (unless someone wants to offer me a full time job teaching yoga, writing and blogging?) I do my shopping online. Whether it's bulk chickpeas and lentils or organic almonds and raw cashews, nut milk or superfoods in liquid and powder form, it's all super affordable and the best, freshest quality. Steve who runs things at The Raw Deal is a genuinely good, generous human with the pure desire to bring healthy, chemical free produce and products to his local community and to the wider Australian community via the website. There's a lot to be said for connecting with the people you shop with.
the raw deal natural foods



Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Beauty Treatments To Heal Summer Skin Breakouts & Make Your Skin Glow

heal breakouts summer skin glow
Did you go hard with the partying, drinking, merriment over New Years? I didn't. But nonetheless, here I am in this ridiculous 30 degrees and upward heat of Melbourne, not idling in air conditioned office space but happily trundling off to Hot Yoga or walking instead of taking the tram.

All of this has an impact on the skin. Fortunately, much research has proven that at any age, exercise strengthens and fortifies the skin from the very deepest layer of the dermis to essentially create "young", naturally radiant skin. There is a catch though - not all exercise is beneficial. Just like healthy food is good for you, even too much of it is...too much. So, while short bursts of high intensity training are good, doing over 45 minutes of intensive training on regular occasions will deplete the skin and body. Especially if that training is outdoors in the elements.

Some people like to get a manicure as their luxury treat-to-self but I'm much more into having my face kneaded with delicious smelling things or having all the nasties sucked right out of it with high powered machines. If it's going to make my skin clear and glowy, bring it on! I've done the hard work for you and tried and tested stuff. Here's the essential treatments in Melbourne and skincare to know now.
natural beauty therapist melbourne

Belinda Hughes is an award-winning organic beauty therapist. She is an absolute master face massager. I was sceptical, to be honest, the first time I saw her over a year ago. Could natural, organic skin products applied gently without a whole lot of high powered lights and lasers and harshness really impact my skin? Turns out, yes.
There's not many occasions when I'm totally bare-faced but after Belinda massaged and cleansed and masked me, my skin was so dewy and fresh and there was zero puffiness around my eyes: I felt absolutely confident with not a skerrick of concealer. I mean, for the rest of the day! I have a tendency to get spots after a facial too, but nothing. Total clarity and dewiness. The key is that Belinda doesn't apply the same treatment and products to everyone. She is an expert at analysing, suggesting and then making the magic happen. Her latest development is the Matcha Treatment. I have used a matcha face mask in the past and nothing tightens my skin like that fabulous green powder. It's like an antioxidant powerhouse. If you are conscientious of sustainable, ethical skincare and products and you have concerns around your skin, I cannot recommend Belinda enough. You can find her via her website, Facebook and Instagram.

claire francoise microhydrodermabrasion

If you have never had Microbrasion with the added benefit of water (hydrabrasion), you have never known the joy of a magic wand exfoliating all the dead skin cells and blockages right off your face, literally. It's fantastic. I have seen Claire for infrared laser and also for skin needling in the past. To meet Claire, with her radiant, clear skin and cut-glass cheekbones, is to know you are in expert hands. This is a woman who takes her skin, and your skin, very seriously. Microhydrabrasion is painless and quite relaxing. The skin is thoroughly cleansed before the wand is applied over the face. Two days later, my skin looks and feels 100% smoother. A few spots I had before the treatment have cleared up too.
Claire Francoise clinic is based on High Street, Prahran and fortunately, you're a simple walk from several amazing cafes, plus a great fruit and veggie store and a whole lot of vintage clothing places. What's not to love? Make a booking via the website, Facebook and Instagram.

makeup to get the glow

Time to glow. After the facial, the microdermabrasion, the skincare that is going to keep your pores clean and clear... that's when the makeup comes into play. As a teenager with terrible acne for a few years, I relied on makeup to conceal, cover, hide. Now, I respect that makeup can be used to enhance great skin and features. Rather than rely on makeup to hide, focus much more on skincare and establishing routines and a lifestyle that protect and nourish your skin. I always find that a diet rich in protein and exercise that is moderate without being excessive and tiresome is the best way to master a natural glow. I'm completely loving the lavender, fresh, pink-based tones right now. Could it be that Valentine's Day is approaching? Or just that I love a fresh, playful pink any time of the year?
Both.
Any excuse.
I'm loving the new MAC Next To Nothing foundation, which gives a sheer coverage so that your natural skin just looks smoother and more even with a dewy glow. If you've got a few post-hot-yoga spots (a small price to pay for enlightenment!) then dot on some MAC Studio Waterweight concealer.
Contour your cheeks (aim for the centre of the cheek, right under the pupil of each eye and brush upwards towards the top of the ear) with shades of blossom but keep a light touch. You want to look a little flushed, not as if you've been slapped. I am loving ZOEVA Blush Palette in Pink Spectrum. Try a combination of MAC Lavender Jade (purple/pink) with nude, coffee coloured ZOEVA Pure Lacquer in Strong Career.I like to use the darker shade as a base with a pop of deeper pink that allows the outline of beige to remain. 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Surf Star Sally Fitzgibbons on Strength Training, Body Image & Living Well

Sally Fitzgibbons

creamy healthy chicken wrapSally Fitzgibbons is synonymous with surfing. Funnily though, she excelled at athletics, touch football and soccer in her teens. It's fair to say, if it required energy and sportsmanship, Sally was into it and mastering it. I had the pleasure of interviewing her for my iTunes podcast, Core Integrity With Cat, today. In light of her book, Summer Fit All Year Round, which I really enjoyed and am still referring to for recipes and body weight training ideas, I took the opportunity to ask Sally about how the book came to be, the role of athletes and authors in sharing their fitness and nutrition programs and how to do this responsibly.
pesto kaleAs you may suspect of an elite athlete, who rises at 5am to train and has a singular dedication to being the best she can be, Sally is an intelligent and articulate interview subject. She's also funny and energetic and inspiring. I may come to regret this, but I was so enthused by her I agreed to a trade of yoga training for a surf lesson. I fear I'll need more than one!

Here's some recipes from Sally's book. I've posted them as downloadable PDF so you can print and paste up on the fridge! Yes, old school.









Deliciously Ella Plant Based Recipes

I don't know about you, but I am a total sucker for cookbooks. Sure, blogs and websites and instagram are all awesome inspiration and I...