Healthy Swaps

When you decide to eat and live healthier, often the key to success is replacing your old habits with new ones that benefit you. For example, instead of eating a sugary breakfast cereal trying eggs and avocado for protein, omega 3’s and healthy fats.

Jess Ainscough, over at Wellness Warrior has a great infographic on healthy swaps. If you are looking to make some small but dramatic changes- this is the place to start. Small changes overtime lead to a manageable wellness lifestyle.

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Probiotic Rich Smoothie

Probiotics are amazing. The things they do to bring wellness to your body is a neccessity. I always notice that post exams, I feel tired and lethargic from all the late nights and sporadic meals.

My go to solution: rehydration and probiotics.

I will spend a day or two just putting lots of water into my body. I always feel amazing the day after consciously re-hydrating. See here for my 20 Lifehacks to drink more water.

Probiotics in the form of kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha are all pantry staples for us. They are easy to make at home and a cheap way to boost your gut health.

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Here is a recipe that is not only deliciously fruity but also includes a huge amount of good bacteria that aids digestion and gut function.

Ingredients

1-2 cup of fruit (I used strawberries and banana)

1 tsp honey

1 tsp vanilla

1-2 cups of kefir (and or yoghurt)

 

Instructions

Step 1: Place all of the fruit in a blender bowl

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Step 2: Add honey, vanilla and kefir

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Step 3: Blend together until smooth

Step 4: Drink and enjoy feeling amazing!

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Glasseslit: I ordered glasses online!

A few weeks ago, this page ‘Glasseslit‘ came up in my Facebook newsfeed claiming to make glasses from your prescription- really cheaply.

I did a bit of research, and found that they were a company based in China who make prescription (and non-prescription) glasses. Their website seemed legit and with Paypal listed as a payment option (which offers buyer protection) it was a risk- but I felt confident to place an order.

I called my optometrist to request my prescription, and they mailed it straight out to me. As soon as that arrived, I went onto the Glasseslit website, chose the frames, entered my details and even got 30% off my order as a first time buyer not to mention FREE international shipping.

The website also had helpful information, such as ‘how to read your prescription’ so that you could understand and enter your information correctly.

I chose the Xinshishang frames, in tortoiseshell. The frames cost $16! On top of that, the recommended lens thickness for my prescription added $21, which was optional- but I chose to go with that. I also chose whether the glass could be tinted or glare-proof. I went with the latter.

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The website listed comprehensive measurements of all their frames, and with the aid of diagrams it was easy for a lay-person to order glasses and be informed through the whole process.

And then I waited. They sent me an email, thanking me for my order. I recieved another email, about 2 days later saying that my order was being made and would be shipped shortly.

About a week later, they confirmed that my glasses were ready and shipped, at which point they provided me with a tracking number for Australia Post and told me to wait about 1 week.

Regardless of this advice, I checked the mailbox eagerly everyday and to my surprise 5 days later, a package had arrived from China!

I scrambled to open them. They had been secured in bubble wrap and came with a hard leather case, a cleaning cloth and a mini-screw adjuster.

My biggest concerns were: the glasses would be bad quality, my prescription wouldn’t be adhered to, and lastly that it was not a legit company.

I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised – none of my concerns came true.

Here they are! The lenses are a little bigger on my face than I had imagined. Even though I measured them out, I didn’t expect them to be so ‘long’ underneath.

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They are made to my exact prescription and I can see with them (always a bonus, with glasses!)

I am over the moon about this discovery. Glasses have always been a dreaded and hefty expense for me- but for $30 I have a brand new pair! The only danger now is that I won’t stop at 1 pair…

Let me know what you think of my new frames, and if you are in need of a pair of your own- I would highly recommend you explore Glasseslit.com.

 

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Glasseslit.com or their products. This blog post reflects my own views and opinions. The glasses were purchased with my own money. 

Grill’d: Gluten free bun

Regan and I went to Grill’d for lunch after our last exam. It was an early morning time-slot, so we were ravenous by the time we finished (sorry we went without you, Kat!).

We went to Grill’d, after hearing about their new gluten free, grain free AND dairy free bun!

It sounded too good to be true. Now, we love a good a burger- but being gluten free often intercepts any burger eating intentions we have. It is becoming more popular to have gluten free option on the menu, and I have found it easier in Melbourne (with the variety and the recent Paleo diet trends) to be accommodated. But, that being said- often gluten free buns are filled with sugar, highly refined ingredients and are all round disappointing substitutes to hold some meat and salad together.

Is this the answer to our problems?

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Grill’d have 2 gluten free burger options on their menu. The difference being that this one is a lot lower in carbs (9 grams) and has no dairy or grains.

It cost $1.50 extra (which is comparable to other burgers I’ve had which are generally $2.00) but it means that a basic burger goes from being $9.50 to $11.

The moment of truth was delivered to our table…

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You can see Regan’s burger (on a plain non-GF bun) in the background certainly is bready and quite big. Whereas mine was a little more pancake-y and flat.

I did expect more volume on my bun, but also felt glad that it wasn’t taking over the whole burger.

So, how did it compare?

Well, it got soggy VERY quickly. The burger was super juicy and the bun did nothing to absorb the mess that ran down my arms.

It also broke apart in my hands, and was very fragile. I felt like I couldn’t put it down to take a break, or a photo. I did manage to, right at the end and had to be very tender with it.

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The bun tore really easily, but because it was full of juice it managed to stick together.

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Overall, I am excited that Grill’d has a GF option. I wouldn’t rave about the quality of the bun, I think they have a bit of perfecting to do with the texture and strength of it. The burger filling however was just as it should be: fresh, juicy, great quality produce and tasty.

I would go back for more- but armed with plenty of napkins and perhaps I would cut it in half first so that I wouldn’t have to hold the burger the whole time I’m eating it.

 

It’s Almost Holidays!

It’s so close to that wonderful time of year for us! One last exam to go for the year and then we have time to relax and explore.

Regan and I are going to be visiting some new places, that I’d love to share with you. Hopefully we will head to the Great Ocean Road and see some beautiful places along the way.

A quick change of tone here:

I have been struggling for some inspiration for blog topics lately. So, I’m giving the reigns to the readers, and putting it out there- what would you like to hear about?

I have had a couple of requests already, such as some organisation tips and recipes for Green Cleaning products. I’m really keen to blog about that- thanks for the request, Brooke! My friend, Kat has also asked me to review the GAPS diet, which I’m very interested in looking into. Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

Is there anything else that you’d like to know about? Recipes, Melbourne, Cafes, Eating… anything? Write to me, let me know!

11 Fun Facts About Avocados

I just love avocado! I was going to write a full profile on them, but came across this article. I thought there were some interesting facts in there that could spark some interest.
This article has been reblogged from Mind Body Green. The original article is by NICOLE BAKER published on MAY 31, 2013 7:02 AM EDT.
See here for the original article.
1. They’re baby friendly. 
Avocados are the size of a baby in its mother’s womb at 16 weeks. They’re also a good snack to feed to babies young and old!
2. They’re fiber rich. 
There are 10 grams of fiber in one medium-sized avocado. There are two grams of fiber in one serving, which is one-fifth of a medium avocado. It contains both insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber (which speeds up the passage of foods) accounts for 75%, with the remaining 25% as soluble fiber (the fiber that makes you feel full).
3. They have natural packaging.
Their thick skin protects them; it’s natural packaging! You can’t eat the skin, but it shields the green goodness inside, making avocados perfect for travel.
4. They lower bad cholesterol.
Avocados are one of the only fruits that contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat (the good-for-you fat) that helps boost good (HDL) cholesterol and lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol.
5. They upgrade your dips and spreads. 
An avocado serving size is 50 calories, which works out to be 3 thin slices or 2 tablespoons mashed. There are fewer calories than the same amount of butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, peanut butter, almond butter, olive oil, and coconut oil — PLUS avocado has over 20 vitamins and minerals to upgrade your natural diet! Use avocado as a substitute today!
6. They’re gluten free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian and cholesterol-free. 
Avocados are naturally FULL of nutrition, so there’s no need for special labels. They’re full of flavor; think of all of the meals you can healthify with avocado!
7. You know when they’re ripe and ready. 
Avocados are ripe when they feel heavy for their size, yield to light pressure and are dark in color. But don’t squeeze these delicate babies too hard. Not ripe? Put in a brown paper bag for 2-4 days, or you can speed up this process by putting a banana or apple in the bag.
8. They’re an anti-aging powerhouse. 
Supercado is what we should call avocados, because they’re one of the most inexpensive anti-aging tools for your skin! Don’t let its rough outer covering fool you — the inner smoothness and creaminess are what we need for youthful skin. With all of the nutrients, healthy fat and vitamins, an avocado tree could be the next fountain (tree) of youth!
9. They have a fun etymology.
The word “avocado” comes from the Spanish word aguacate, which is from the the Nahuatl word ahuacatl. When I lived in Chile, we called it palta, which is its Quechua name. It’s also sometimes called the alligator pear due to the shape and rough green skin (cut it open and it looks like an alligator eye, too). I prefer to call it palta; my strong love for avocados started in Chile.
10. They’re a climacteric fruit.
Yes, avocado is a fruit and is climacteric, meaning it matures on the tree but ripens off of the tree. The “paltas” we get in non-avocado bearing climates are picked hard and green and kept in coolers until they reach their final destination. Avocados must be mature to ripen properly. In a perfect world they would fall off the tree and ripen on the ground naturally.
11. Avocados need love, too.
Avocado trees do not self-pollinate; they need another avocado tree close by to bear fruit. The avocado is an Aztec symbol of love and fertility, and they also grow in pairs on trees. My love and I eat them every day, and we create natural loving meals with love filled food!
When will you be picking up some avocados? Do it today! There are over 500 varieties of avocados in the world, with the most popular in the United States being the Hass varieties. Pick a few up and share some green avocado love!

Netball: A win!

This one is short and sweet, and almost rather pointless.

Our netball team won our very first game this week! We have been slowly improving, but with players coming and going every game it has been hard to form a cohesive group.

But, some magic happened this week- and we just seemed to move effortlessly and score every attempted goal. We won by 3 points.

Finally, victory!

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Paleo Spicey Pumpkin Soup

This recipe is loaded with Vitamin C. It is perfect for the winter months, and just as good to have for the transition phases between seasons, when our immune systems can feel susceptible to colds and flu’s.

I made this in the slow cooker- it was so easy. I pre-roasted my vegetables, as I was already using the oven. But you could skip the roasting step and add them raw.

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I mixed my own spices instead of using a curry paste, and the flavours were vibrant and fresh. You could use alternatives to suit your taste.

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Ingredients

1kg butternut pumpkin

1 onion

1-2 carrots

1/2 large sweet potato

4 cups of stock

Red curry paste or dried spice mix of: 1 tsp each of corriander, tumeric, paprika, garam masala

Tin of full fat coconut cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Corriander leaves to garnish

Instructions

Step 1: Roughly chop the vegetables and place all ingredients, except coconut cream in slow cooker

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Step 2: Turn slow cooker on high, and cook for 4 hours or 6-8 on low

Step 3: After soup has cooked, add coconut cream and blend together all the ingredients. If the soup is very thick, add some water.

Step 4: Top with corriander leaves and serve.

Gluten free Crust-less Quiche / Zucchini Slice

This recipe is a-mazing. It is so tasty, versatile and delicious. You can eat it warm on its own, or cold with a salad. It makes a great breakfast that you can prepare ahead of time, or lunch or dinner.

By mixing together a little flour, milk, eggs and cheese it creates a quiche texture and holds together wonderfully. I used kefir milk in this recipe, it makes it rich and creamy- and has added health benefits. You can read more about kefir here.

I’m going to be completely honest, and say that there is no photo of what the quiche looks like when it is cooked. As soon as I pulled this out of the oven, Regan and I attacked it with a fork each and ate the whole thing!

It had been cooking in the oven, and the house smelt divine. We were salivating by the time the buzzer went off on the oven- and the rest is history.

Ingredients 
3 bacon rashers
½ cup fresh herbs, chopped (I used parsley, basil, thyme and chives)
4 eggs
1/2 cup gluten free self raising flour sifted
1 1/2 cups milk or kefir milk
1 cup grated cheese (I used parmesan and cheddar)

Optional: Vegetables- I always add about 2 cups of vegetables, mushrooms, zucchini, sweet potato… whatever takes your fancy.

Instructions
Step 1: Preheat oven to 200°C.

Step 2: Chop up onion, bacon and herbs.

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Step 3: Saute onion until translucent, add bacon and fry until lightly browned.

Step 4: Meanwhile, place the eggs and flour in a bowl and whisk well to combine. Gradually add the milk/kefir and whisk to combine.

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Step 5: Place the bacon, herbs and cheese and vegetables in a lightly greased 24 cm round ovenproof baking dish.

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Step 6: Pour over the milk mixture, and cover loosely with aluminium foil. Bake for 30 minutes, uncover and cook for a further 10 minutes or until cooked through and slightly golden.

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Raw Peanut Butter and Chocolate Rough

This recipe was simple and super easy to throw together. I actually realised that it was Halloween and made this in anticipation for some little trick-or-treaters.

And come they did. They knocked on my door and yelled ‘trick or treat’, and looked totally down trodden when I told them I had no sweets for them. And then I pulled out a few pieces of this, and they quickly ate them. Their faces lit up, and they asked for more. One little boy exclaiming ‘wow, this is amazing!’.

It really is. I will be making this forever.

Ingredients

1 cup coconut, desiccated or shredded
1 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup any organic dried fruit
1 cup any nut, roughly chopped
1/3 cup of sweetener of choice (I used honey)
1/3 cup organic peanut butter, or any nut butter

I used slivered almonds, cashews and apricots
I used slivered almonds, cashews and apricots

Instructions

Step 1: Gently melt the coconut oil and sweetener.

Step 2: In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients together with the oil and sweetener- apart from the peanut butter.

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Step 3: Press half of the mixture into a tray then slather the peanut butter on top,swirl it through or dollop it on the bottom.

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Step 4: Cover with the remaining half of the coconut mixture then pop in the freezer. When firm, cut into chunks using a knife.

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