Wellbeing

Rishikesh the ‘Yoga Capital of The World’

Posted by on Sep 18, 2016 in Asia, Featured, Healthy Living, India, Travel, Wellbeing | 0 comments

Rishikesh the ‘Yoga Capital of The World’

North of Delhi nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas lies the magical place that is Rishikesh.

The holy River Ganges flows steadily through the town as cows wander the streets and cheeky monkeys watch you pass by.

A spiritual hub that attracts those looking to study the ancient arts of yoga and meditation, Rishikesh is an alcohol and meat free town.

The people who come here are open minded and ask the big questions, our conversations mull over topics like the meaning of life, who we are and what is truth.

There’s unquestionably something special in the air, The Beatles must have felt it too and wrote many of their songs while living here in the 1960s.

 

lakshman-jhula

 

It was here I chose to complete my 200 hour yoga teacher training course, at the World Peace Yoga School in the small community of Lakshman Jhula.

An amazing experience where I learned all about yoga and the philosophy behind it, and practiced meditation and pranayama (breathing techniques).

An incredibly personal journey I also learned about my mind, my body and myself as a person.

 

emma-meditating

 

I was diagnosed by the ayuverdic doctor as a predominantly Pitta person, the dosha or type associated with the fire element known for being intelligent, determined and fiery.
From simply taking my pulse he determined this and pointed out other ailments I had.

 

cow-and-stall

 

With a healthy amount of scepticism I went to see the astrologer, however he was scarily accurate in his account of my life to date from only looking at the stars. Third generation he is often overseas and always charges 500 of the local currency, luckily for me being in India that meant 500 rupees rather than those who see him in America and pay 500 dollars!

 

river-view-from-beatles

 

Beyond my regular classes I visited temples, took part in a cacao ceremony, a rebirthing, full moon ceremony, fire ceremonies, a party for Lord Krishna’s birthday and attended an acupressure and cupping workshop.

My journey was shared and encouraged by the wonderful people I met along the way, my beautiful teachers and other students who felt like long lost family.

 

tea-break-friends

 

One afternoon we hiked to a stunning waterfall in the mountains, as the afternoon rain came stopped for a leisurely cup of tea by the river, then hitchhiked a lift into town in the back of a truck.

 

waterfall

 

Nights were spent feeling the fresh breeze while standing on the bridge over the Ganges, at the fire offering on the river (‘Ganga Aarti’, pictured below), gazing at the stars from a rooftop or sitting on the steps of an abandoned mansion contemplating life and its mysteries.

 

ganga-aarti-rishikesh

 

Staying there for a month I soon settled into the gentle rhythm of the place. The streets became familiar and shopkeepers would invite me in for chai.

Just as it began to feel like home it was time to leave.

My glimpse into India certainly whet my appetite, and I’m sure I’ll be back one day.

 

emma-in-street

What happens when you start setting personal goals

Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 in Healthy Living, Life, Wellbeing | 1 comment

What happens when you start setting personal goals

We often have goals or targets set for us at work, but something I’ve been thinking about is the benefits of goal setting in your personal life.

Over the last year or so I’ve been setting goals for myself.
Things that I want to achieve purely for my own personal satisfaction and self improvement.

These have included physical goals such as doing yoga everyday, taking part in 10km fun runs and completing my first triathlon, as well as intellectual challenges like sitting HSK exams (the standardised Mandarin language test).

Setting goals gives you something to work towards, keeps you accountable, and gives you a real sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when you complete it.

It provides direction, you are not aimlessly going day-to-day without purpose or something to work towards.

Think about what you want for yourself, and make it happen!  When you work towards a goal you are turning your thoughts into reality.

Set a goal now, don’t wait until you think you are ready, or you’ll probably never do it.

When I entered the triathlon I was not prepared, I had not been training and hadn’t been swimming for a really long time.  Once I knew I was going to participate I got in the pool and started, it gave me the push I needed.

I signed up for the HSK exam and was completely overwhelmed looking at past papers for the level I had chosen, and wondered what I was thinking.

But this is good, aim high!  Having a challenging goal provides fuel for your drive and perseverance to get there, and means when you do get there you are rewarded with a rush of pride and happiness.

Specific and tangible goals give you inspiration to get started working towards them, as well as incentive to not give up in pursuit of them.

There is no way I would have learned all of the Chinese characters I now know if I hadn’t signed up to take those tests.  Realising I would not even be able to understand the question if I couldn’t recognise the characters pushed me to focus on studying.

The feeling of elation and self-satisfaction when I walked out of the exam having done something that previously seemed impossible was awesome.

 

1621751_10152872976649507_3535100497743021638_n

 

By setting difficult goals I have pushed myself harder than I otherwise would have, and in doing so uncovered potential I didn’t know I had.

In this way it’s also a journey of self discovery, learning about what you want, how strong you are (mentally and/or physically), and what you can achieve if you set your mind to it.

The top 5 benefits of personal goal setting I have experienced are:

  1.  Focus and direction working towards something.
  2.  A tangible result where you can see how far you have come.
  3.  Working on something you have decided is important to you – you are accountable to yourself and are making your ambitions a priority.
  4.  Motivation, a positive and contagious energy.
  5.  Being a person of action making things happen, rather than just talking about them.

By setting goals and achieving them you become the best you can be, and ensure that you continue to grow and learn.

Approaching the new year a lot of people are making some pretty vague resolutions, instead I suggest setting some specific personal goals for yourself.

So, what are you going to achieve next year?!

My top 10 places to eat (non-Chinese food) in Beijing

Posted by on Feb 8, 2015 in China, Healthy Living, Travel, Wellbeing | 0 comments

My top 10 places to eat (non-Chinese food) in Beijing

Of course there is a plethora of places to get cheap dumplings, jianbing and roast duck in Beijing, but if you get sick of Chinese food never fear, there’s also a surprisingly good variety of other cuisines from Spanish and Mexican to Japanese and Indian.

My personal favourites are listed below.

 

 

1. Juice by Melissa
If you are into dairy free, gluten free & vegan goodness this is the place for you!  They specialise in homemade delicious juices and various nut milks which you can also get delivered, but it’s definitely worth stopping by for the food.  The fresh salads, chia puddings and kale crisps will keep you coming back for more.

 

Juice by Melissa

Hail to Kale salad & brussel sprouts with garlic aioli at Juice by Melissa

 

2. Deli de luxe
This places serves up the best coffee in Beijing and it’s no wonder being Aussie owned* (I’m not biased I swear!)  They specialise in catering, but you can also stop by and enjoy their food in the small cafe.  Their menu includes salads made fresh daily (the roasted vegetable one is a definite favourite), roast chicken, quiches, soups and risotto.  It can be tricky to find the first time, they are located near the west gate of Chaoyang Park inside the Parkview apartment complex (across the road from the Jenny Lou’s).

*Update: as of April 2015 the Australian owners sold the cafe.  The coffee is still good (they have continued using Rickshaw Roasters beans), but the barista isn’t quite as skilled 🙁

 

3. Tribe Organic
Tribe serves up organic wholesome food with fresh seasonal ingredients and offer a range of gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan options.  They also do great coffee and have a big list of smoothies and juices to wash down your meal, as well as some cheeky sweet treats like flourless chocolate fondant and carrot cake “doughnuts”.

 

Tribe food

Paleo breakfast at Tribe

Tribe latte

Coffee at Tribe

 

4. The Big Smoke
The Big Smoke is one of the few places that Wayne and I both agree on.  He loves the slow cooked meats, and I’m happy eating the quinoa and raw vegetable bowl.  Our Canadian friend also assures us that their poutine is up to scratch.  Be sure to order the side of roasted beetroot and potatoes with mustard.

 

5. Vineyard
Vineyard know what they’re doing with their food and their coffee, you can’t go wrong eating here.  They have two locations, one in Wudaoying Hutong and a newer location on the Liangma river.  They are both great spots, the Wudaoying location is convenient to tie in with a trip to the nearby Lama Temple or Confucius Temple.  They offer a big menu with pizzas, sandwiches and salads, as well as a brunch menu with western favourites like eggs benedict.

 

Eggs benedict at Vineyard

Eggs benedict at Vineyard

 

6. Moka Bros
Just behind The Village in Sanlitun, Moka Bros offer up substantial “power bowls” with ingredients like quinoa, red rice, and seasonal specials like paleo spaghetti (zucchini noodles with bolognese sauce and goats cheese).  They also have fresh salads, crepes, wraps and sandwiches and fresh juices.

 

7. Modo Urban Deli
Conveniently located upstairs in The Village in Sanlitun stop in at Modo for a delicious quinoa or smoked salmon salad (or both!), pasta or a burger.

 

Modo salad

Mixed salad at Modo

 

8. Obentos
This place does fresh, healthy and delicious Japanese style food.  With a wide selection of sushi rolls, bento boxes, salads, grain bowls and smoothies there’s something for everyone.  My other favourite Japanese place in Beijing is Hatsune who make high quality sushi and sashimi.

 

9. The Rug
The Rug offers up a decent menu, but more importantly good coffee and wine!  There are two locations, one in Sanlitun and one near the south gate of Chaoyang Park.  The Sanlitun location is preferable for dinner if you plan on going out for drinks afterwards, but the Chaoyang Park location has a great vibe for Sunday morning brunches.

 

The Rug wayne

Brunch at the Chaoyang Park Rug

 

10. Bookworm
If you are a book lover like me you’ll love this place.  A bookshop selling new and used books, this place does great food and provide a relaxed atmosphere to sit back and enjoy.  They also often hold events here with writers giving talks and book signings.

 

Bookworm tea

Tea at Bookworm

 

You can also get almost all of these places delivered to your door using Sherpas or Jinshisong, easy to use English websites where you pay a small fee (usually between 15 – 30 RMB or $3 – $6 AUD) for them to be the middle man – they place you order, pick it up and deliver it to your house.  There are also several other restaurants like Annie’s that do their own delivery for free if you spend a certain amount, or if pizza’s your thing Wayne swears by the BBQ Chicken from Gung Ho!

Special mention must also go to The Veggie Table in Wudaoying Hutong, a vegan restaurant who do the most amazing coconut milk latte, and Cafe Flat White who make excellent coffee.

If you’re looking to head out for a drink after dinner, check out some of my favourite bars here.

What I learned from my 30 day yoga challenge

Posted by on Feb 7, 2015 in Healthy Living, Wellbeing | 4 comments

What I learned from my 30 day yoga challenge

At the start of every year my social media news feeds become endless lists of new years resolutions.  I’m not a big fan of making new years resolutions.  Too often we get caught up in the new year fever and make broad and vague resolutions like “this year I’m going to lose weight”, “this year I’m going to workout more” or “this year I’ll be more social”.  These are easy to forget about and aren’t easily measured.

We are more likely to succeed if we set smaller measurable goals.  If you want to lose weight, think about something that’s a problem for you, maybe its that daily chocolate, and make a specific resolution – e.g. that you will only have 1 serving of good quality dark chocolate once a week.

Rather than just saying you want to workout more, set an actual  target, e.g. “I will commit to 3 workouts every week” and put them in your diary in advance like any other appointment.  Literally schedule into your diary the gym / meditation /  walk or whatever it is, then treat it like a non negotiable appointment.

We also need to focus on making changes one at a time, rather than bombarding ourselves with several all at once – keep it simple and achievable.

For me, I decided to kick off 2015 with a commitment to myself to do yoga once a day for 30 days.

My sister had gotten me onto Yoga With Adriene which I love, she is really down to earth and has a youtube channel with tonnes of free yoga sessions that she guides you through.  Adriene was kicking off a 30 day yoga challenge that was able to be downloaded, perfect for the Beijing winter when I didn’t want to leave the apartment!

So, here’s what I learned from my 30 day challenge:

 

A little gives a lot

Giving yourself a little bit of your time gives a lot to your body and mind.  Often the yoga I would do each day was only between 15 to 30 minutes, but it was amazing what that achieved.

Take some time for yourself, whatever time you have available.  I’d say most people could find 30 minutes of their day to give to themselves (perhaps a bit less time on Facebook, or watching that tv show..?!)

If you are really pressed for time, even 5 minutes a day will help.  No joke.  For 5 minutes every day lie in Savasana (corpse pose) and focus on relaxing your body and your breathing.  This act of connecting with your body and your breath will do wonders.

Take it slowly, we are always in such a rush to do everything, but there is so much pleasure in slowing it down.  The reason this pose is so restorative and healing is because for even just a few minutes we are giving ourselves permission to just be.  Do not underestimate the importance of stillness.

 

Do what makes you feel good

Don’t let anyone else dictate what is best for your body (or your life for that matter)!  You know your body, if you are in pain doing a pose, tone it back, or rest in child’s pose, these are just as valid – it’s your practice.  Be gentle with yourself.

There is so much value to be had in simply coming to the mat and connecting with your breath, allowing yourself to be present. It’s easy to never really be present, to have your mind elsewhere worrying about what might happen, or what has already happened.

For me it is often in resting poses that my mind wanders elsewhere, thinking about things to do or waiting for the next movement.  When this happens I gently remind myself to come back to my breath and be present in that moment.  By focusing on your inhale and exhale, you are focussing on what is happening in the now.

Let go, surrender, and be still.

 

Sunrise yoga at Bronte beach, Australia

 

The hardest part is getting started

This is true for so many things in life, but I think particularly for exercise.  Some days I didn’t feel like doing yoga, but I made a promise to myself that if I got onto the mat and did the first five minutes, I could stop if I wanted to.  And every time after five minutes I wanted to continue.

When I lived at Bondi Beach I would get up at 5am every day for a sunrise beach workout before going to work.  A lot of people didn’t understand how I could do this, but if I was ever struggling to get up I would think about the way I felt after each workout – absolutely amazing!

You never finish a workout or yoga session and think “I wish I’d slept in instead”, but I guarantee that every time you sleep in or watch tv you wish you had gone out and done something!  Next time you don’t feel like doing that gym class, going for that walk / run / swim, just put your clothes on and get started – you’ll thank yourself afterwards.

 

Yoga by the sea at Manyana, Australia

 

Accept yourself

Remember it’s not a competition.  You might find yourself looking at the instructor or other people and enviously thinking “I wish I could do that / looked like that / was as flexible as her…” but it’s not about anyone else but you.

As long as you are trying to improve and be better than you were yesterday, that is amazing!  It’s not about being THE best, it’s about being YOUR best.

Also realise that each day will be different.  Some days I came to the mat energised and happy, other days I felt tired and uninspired, but I always came to the mat, acknowledged how my body and my mind were feeling and accepted those feelings.

Making time for yourself is enough, you don’t need to achieve each pose perfectly.  Take time to check in with yourself, and keep it light and playful.

 

A bit of help from a friend!

 

Don’t give up if you stumble

There were a couple of days when I didn’t do yoga (gasp!)  One of those days I got up and went to the gym, came home for a quick shower and then walked to work.  I had a meeting after work which turned into dinner, and by the time I got home I just wanted to go to bed, so I did.

I decided I wasn’t going to beat myself up about it either.  As long as I was doing my best with the challenge, that was enough.

I listened to my body, which some days needed rest, and that was ok.  It’s ok to get off track, in fact it may be part of your track!  It’s what you do next that counts.  I simply focused on moving forward and continuing with my practice.

 

yoga

Most important of all – have fun!

 

Namaste!

Chocolate Bliss Balls

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in Recipes | 0 comments

Chocolate Bliss Balls

These delicious balls are paleo, refined sugar free, gluten free & dairy free, not to mention they are SO quick and easy to make!

Ingredients
• 5 teaspoons cacao powder (not cocoa!)
• 1 cup raw macadamias
• 1 cup dates
• 4 Tbsp shredded coconut
• 2 teaspoons coconut oil
• 1 Tbsp honey
• Pinch of salt
• Splash of vanilla extract

Method
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Process until the nuts are at the size you want –  if you like chunks of nuts simply process for less time.
3. When you’ve got the desired consistency, roll the mixture into balls.  The harder you squeeze and compact the balls, the better they’ll taste tomorrow!
4. Put in the fridge to set for a few hours – I find they taste the best after being in the fridge overnight.

And… that’s it!  Enjoy 🙂

 

10 ways to look after your body

Posted by on Jan 18, 2015 in Healthy Living, Wellbeing | 0 comments

10 ways to look after your body

We only have one body, and it does so much for us.  These are some simple things I do to make sure I’m taking care of myself.

 

1. Don’t judge food by its cover
Just because a food label is green, has the words “organic“, “gluten free” or “low fat” on it does not mean it is a good choice!  Always look at the ingredients and nutritional label – if there are ingredients with long names that you can’t pronounce or don’t know what they are, that’s not good.  If the sugar content is more than 10g per hundred, that’s too much (sugar is often a big problem with “diet” or “low fat” products).

 

2. Homemade is always better
If you make it yourself you know exactly what is in it, and there won’t be any sneaky preservatives or additives.  Think hummus, mayo, pasta sauce – these are all simple things to make at home that people often grab from a packet or jar.  For example, to make a great basil pesto simply combine in a food processor 4 cups of fresh basil leaves, ½ cup toasted pine nuts, a large clove of garlic, pinch of salt and 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil – too easy!

 

3. Cut the CRAP
This means Caffeine, Refined sugar, Alcohol and Processed foods.  You may love your coffee and red wine (I know I do), so it might be more of a case of cutting back rather than cutting out completely.  For me this means only having coffee on the weekend as a treat, and really enjoying it.  Eat naturally as much as possible – fresh fruit and veggies, meats, seafood, nuts etc.  Always go for the less processed option, eg steak over rissoles or sausages.  If you are lucky enough to live near farmers markets these are the absolute best for getting seasonal organic produce.

 

4. Hydration is key!
Make sure you are getting enough good old h2o, we often underestimate how much water our bodies need.  Always keep a water bottle (reusable and bpa free) close by.  I like to have warm water with a slice of lemon.  Water is always the best, herbal teas and coconut water are also good.  Steer clear of soft drinks, sports drinks and fruit juice (fruit juice is just all the fructose without any of the fibre – go for whole pieces of fruit instead).

 

Eat move hydrate

 

5. Be mindful when you eat
Don’t scoff down your meals in front of the tv / at your desk / while you Facebook.  Take note of what you’re eating, the taste, the texture, and take time to chew your food properly (this will also aid your digestion).  Take note of how much you are eating, think about the nutritional value of what you are eating, and eat slowly so your body can recognise when it’s full.  Eating slowly will also allow you to appreciate and enjoy your food, and feel gratitude that you are lucky enough not to have to worry about where your next meal is coming from.

 

6. Don’t expect to be perfect 100% of the time
I generally follow the 80/20 rule – 100% for 80% of the time.  If you stuff up and make some bad choices don’t beat yourself up about it – just accept it, learn from it and move forward.  It’s what you do next that counts.  If you make one bad decision don’t use that as an excuse to keep going down the rabbit hole and “write off” the rest of the day.  If there’s something you really want to have even though you know it’s not the best for you, have some in moderation and enjoy it without feeling guilty.

 

BUF boxing

 

7. Stay social
If you’re going out for dinner with a group of friends and worried about staying on track with your nutrition you can always look up the menu ahead of time and choose the best option, then when you get there stick to it.  Just because everyone else is ordering burgers and chips doesn’t mean you have to.  If you’re off alcohol but don’t want to have to deal with the barrage of questions and opinions, order some soda water with fresh lime in a short glass – everyone will assume you’re on vodka or gin!

 

8. Eat dinner for breakfast
One of the best changes I ever made was having protein for breakky.  So many people start their day on heavily processed and sugar filled cereals or toast, neither of which are going to fuel your body well for the day ahead.  I usually have a mix of a couple of vegetables (my favourites are spinach, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes, leek or capsicum) with a side of eggs, chicken or salmon.  Avocado is also always a winner to give you a dose of good fats.  If you don’t like savoury in the morning you can also make super simple and easy “banana pancakes“.  This will start your day on the right foot with fresh nourishing ingredients, and best of all you won’t be starving an hour later.

 

9. Get enough sleep
Sleep is so important, I didn’t really realise until I was actually getting enough sleep how good it is for your body and state of mind.  How much is enough sleep?  This is different for everyone, for me it’s 7-9 hours.  You need to be sleeping enough that your body can fully rest and recover, both mentally and physically.  Not getting enough sleep and relying on a double shot espresso to get you going is not healthy!  We are also designed to rise and fall with the sun, so even if you are getting enough sleep try changing when you sleep to be more aligned with the outdoors and notice the difference.

Things that help me get a good sleep are:
– Having a cup of herbal tea about half an hour before bed.  My favourites are Pukka brand night time tea, or if you are in Australia Serenity blend by Mayde Tea.  Whatever you do just make sure you’re not having a tea with caffeine in it (which includes green tea!)
– Not looking at my phone or laptop in bed, and not going straight from looking at a screen (laptop, tv etc.) to bed.  Try having a bit of time to wind down reading a book, or what I like to do is practice some meditation (even just for 5 minutes) where I focus on my breath and relaxing my body from head to toe.
– Have a nightly routine that signals to your body it’s time to get ready for sleep.
– Don’t eat dinner too late / close to going to sleep, or drink too much liquid before bed.  I find it difficult to sleep on a full stomach, and drinking too much ensures you’ll need to get up during the night!
– If you can’t sleep and find yourself tossing and turning getting frustrated don’t stay in bed, get up and do something like meditation, some gentle stretching or read a book for half an hour and then try going back to bed.  Avoid looking at bright stimulating screens like your tv or laptop.  If there’s a lot going on in your mind, write it down and then go back to bed, sometimes we just need to get it out of our heads.

 

10. Do what you love
Find a way of moving your body that you genuinely enjoy.  If you’re a social person it could be a team sport like netball or soccer, you might be a total gym bunny, or enjoy peaceful walks each day.  Even better mix it up, at the moment my week consists of crossfit, yoga, aerial silks and running.  What you eat and how you exercise should be fun and come from a place of love for yourself – nourishment not punishment!  Always be gentle and kind with yourself, and do what makes you feel good 🙂

 

Be your friend

Cleanse your life

Posted by on Jan 18, 2015 in Healthy Living, Life, Wellbeing | 0 comments

Cleanse your life

We clean out our wardrobes to get rid of clothes that are ill-fitting or that we don’t feel good wearing, we clean out our kitchens to get rid of food that is stale or that we don’t enjoy anymore.

But what about the non material things, when was the last time you cleaned out your life?

I’m talking about your relationships, your habits, your thoughts.  It’s time to let go of what doesn’t serve you.

Consider the people you spend most of your time with, do they make you feel happy, inspired, energised and joyful?

What about your job, do you get out of bed and want to go to work each day, or are you dragging your feet and living for the weekend?

If you notice thoughts, actions, people or anything else in your life that doesn’t serve you, that makes you feel down, frustrated or unhappy it’s time to rethink why that is part of your life.

Social media is another area, often people want to have more ‘friends’ as a sign of popularity, but this should definitely be a quality over quantity decision.  If there are people in your Facebook news feed who post negative things, who you are not even friends with in real life, or you don’t even know who they are – clean them out too!

Make conscious decisions to remove the negative aspects of your life, and allow yourself to be happy.

 

Emma beach

 

That’s not to say you shouldn’t clean out your physical possessions as well, in fact I encourage you to do so, it’s a great feeling to rid yourself of belongings that are burdening you.

Get rid of tupperware with mismatched lids, beauty products you never use and have had since you were in high school, clothes you’ve never worn, and books you won’t read again.

After we gave notice on our lease in Sydney before moving to China we began selling and giving away all of our belongings.  Previously when we had moved we had just taken all of our stuff with us, but this time it had to go!  All these things we had worked hard to save for, ummed and ahhed over whether to buy or not, and put so much time into choosing and arranging.

We aspire to buy things, stating how much we want or need the latest car / shoes / bag etc.  But what does it all come down to, really? Is that life – things?  Or is it your friends and family, your experiences each and every day, your life.

Don’t waste your life gathering possessions, make memories instead, they don’t lose their value and will last forever.

It was so liberating getting rid of our material possessions, each time a large piece was taken out of the apartment it felt as though the weight of it was lifted from my shoulders, all those things had ever done was tie us down.

We have so much attachment to inanimate objects, and yet it’s a never ending cycle of continuing to want more and more, and we only ever get temporary happiness once we attain the desired object.

I’ve realised it doesn’t nourish your life to have things.  Think about the memories of when you were happiest, I bet it’s times spent with the people who mean the most to you, times exploring new experiences, times out in nature.

We are so caught up in an endless cycle thinking we just need to get that better job / bigger house / nicer office, and we’re confused when we get there because we’re not happy.  There’s always another thing that we’re chasing, the next promotion, the newer car, and so the cycle continues.  It’s time to end the cycle – you are in control.

 

Stories not stuff

 

My top 10 places to eat in Bondi

Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in Australia, Healthy Living, Wellbeing | 0 comments

My top 10 places to eat in Bondi

Looking for a healthy and delicious meal in beautiful Bondi? You will be spoilt for choice my friends, but here are my top 10 places to eat (in no order).

 

1. M Deli Cafe: 32 Fletcher Street, South Bondi

I used to live just around the corner from this little gem and I constantly miss it!  Located in south Bondi this is more of a locals hangout as it’s a bit further back from the beach.  They do the most amazing salads made fresh daily with a big selection, always really hearty and filling with things like roasted root veggies, pork slaw, chicken and asparagus and roast cauliflower.  You can wash it down with a fresh coconut or an almond milk dandelion latte.  The also have sandwich options and a selection of sweet treats to boot.

 

2. Paleo Cafe: 310-330 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction

The Paleo Cafe is a reliable place to go and get a fresh and healthy meal.  They also have great takeaway meals ready to go in the fridge – grab your morning coffee and a lambshanks to take to work for lunch, sorted!

 

3. Henleys Wholefoods: 310-330 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction

Just downstairs from Paleo Cafe this place is great to sit and enjoy your food over a cup of herbal tea.  Their food is all about sustainability and supporting local farmers.  I love their pumpkin hazelnut meal bread topped with zucchini ribbons, smoked salmon and yoghurt dressing, mmmmm…

 

4. About Life: 31/37 Oxford St, Bondi Junction

A wealth of gorgeous food options and you can do your grocery shopping too – what’s not to love!  Try the coconut quinoa porridge with banana, walnuts, chia seeds and cinnamon.

 

5. Bondi Wholefoods: 1/30A Hastings Parade, North Bondi

This north bondi cafe does a yummy banana chia loaf served toasted with ricotta and honey – perfect for a Saturday afternoon treat.  They also have a small shop stocked with many goodies (including every flavour of Pana and Loving Earth chocolate so watch out!)

 

6. The Health Emporium: 263-265 Bondi Road, Bondi

If you want a smoothie this is the place to go!  These guys do superfood smoothies filled with fresh organic ingredients like avocado, banana, dates, chia seeds, almond milk, etc.  But be warned, the smoothies are expensive (around $13) and are basically a meal in themselves.  They also sell a wealth of bliss balls / slices and an amazing coconut flour banana bread, and have a large grocery store too.

health emp

The Health Emporium

 

7. The Atlas Kiosk: 14 Hall Street, Bondi
Wayne and I loved to come here and sit at the big table up the back and stare at the huge world map, talking about all the places we wanted to go.  Oh, and they do the best shakshuka eggs which you can get with a high quality gluten free bread too.  My other favourite is their quinoa and hazelnut bircher.

*Update: I have been informed by my Bondi friends that Atlas has sadly closed it’s doors 🙁

 

8. Lox Stock and Barrel: 140 Glenayr Avenue, Bondi

Awesome spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  These guys are small and popular so best to make a booking.  If you’re there for dinner try the slow roasted eggplant plate, it is seriously delicious.

 

9. The Shop & Wine Bar: 78 Curlewis Street, Bondi

This cosy little spot is great for meeting up with a few friends for some delicious food and wine.  They also stock to die for cakes from ‘Wellness By Tess’ – enough said!

 

10. Paper Planes: 178 Campbell Parade, Bondi

Seriously good Japanese food including this “pop plant” dessert, with a fun vibe and a variety of sake available.

Paper planes

Paper Planes

 

 

Oh and if want a great coffee, try Bondi Massive (8 Campbell Parade) or Sensory Lab (pictured at the top, 75-79 Hall Street).

 

P.S if you’re looking for some self care while in Bondi my favourites are getting acupuncture at Acupuncture Collective, and having a float at Bondi Float and Massage.

Enjoy!

My go to food “swaps” and favourite recipe inspirations!

Posted by on Jan 10, 2015 in Healthy Living, Recipes, Wellbeing | 0 comments

My go to food “swaps” and favourite recipe inspirations!

Just because you are eating healthy or gluten intolerant doesn’t mean you need to miss out on your favourite foods.  Some of my favourite food “swaps” are:

 

Pancakes 2 ways:

  • 2 eggs + 1 Banana; OR
  • 2 eggs + spoonful of LSA / almond meal + spoonful of yoghurt.

Simply mash up the above ingredients, then add in some of your favourite extras like cinnamon, berries, shredded coconut, or whatever else you fancy!  Cook in a little bit of coconut oil in a pan.  Keep them small so they’re easier to flip, and keep an eye on them as they don’t need to cook for long.

 

Zucchini “pasta”

This is super simple, use a potato peeler to make your zucchini “pasta”, and cook briefly in a little coconut oil until soft.  Serve up topped with whatever sauce you desire (I like tomato, onion and garlic).  You can also use for the pasta layers in lasagne – yum!

 

Chocolate “mousse”

Avocado + cacao + honey – blend until soft and creamy, put in the fridge to set & enjoy!

 

Cauliflower “cous cous”

Just blitz your cauliflower in a food processor until you reach the desired consistency.  You can also use this to make ‘fried rice’ using cauliflower instead of rice.

 

Chicken schnitzel

Coat chicken breast in egg, then cover with almond meal (you can also use desiccated coconut – yum!)  Cook in coconut oil until golden brown and serve with vegetables or salad.

 

If you’re making cakes / muffins replace the flour with almond meal or coconut flour – tastes delicious and makes them a bit more dense and moist.  Also always go for cacao as opposed to cocoa, check out this article on why.

 

If you’re looking for recipe ideas I highly recommend the following (warning: do not browse when hungry..!)

If you live in Sydney you can also get delicious homemade and healthy snacks delivered to your door from My Wholesome Kitchen, check out the seeded power bar below – boy do I miss these!

Item_seeded_power_bar

 

Haters gonna hate

Posted by on Jan 7, 2015 in Healthy Living, Wellbeing | 0 comments

Haters gonna hate

Other people will not always be happy with you and your choices, and that’s ok.  For example, if you are choosing to look after your body and eat good nutritious food, not everyone will be thrilled.  But thanks to Taylor Swift, we know that haters gonna hate, and to just shake it off!

I avoid eating gluten, which many people take issue with.
For a while I also cut out alcohol, and wow did some of my friends not like that!  But if you can’t have a good time with your friend(s) without it revolving around alcohol or requiring you to be drunk, that’s a problem.

Don’t let the haters bring you down.  If your friends aren’t happy about you trying to be the best and healthiest version of you, you probably don’t want to be hanging out with them anyway!  Life’s too short to spend time with people who don’t lift you up.  If you are trying to improve yourself that is a beautiful thing and you should surround yourself with those who respect and encourage you.

We should always respect other people’s opinions, about nutrition as well as religion, politics, and pretty much everything.  But make sure they respect yours as well.  No-one has the right to force their opinion onto someone else.

If you’re informed and excited about eating fresh healthy foods, you don’t need to start attacking the chicken schnitzel burger your friend just ordered.  I regularly watch my friends down foods that aren’t the best for them (ever heard of a poutine burger…) but it’s their life and their body, so their choice.

Conversely, don’t let anyone make you feel bad for ordering a salad.  You are the only one who lives in your body, so you are the only one who knows how certain foods make you feel.  This is true with everything in life.  It’s very easy to make judgements about people’s lives, jobs, relationships, but unless you’re living it day to day, you cannot possibly know what someone is dealing with.

I notice a lot of negativity between women, guys don’t care if you’re eating grilled fish or a hamburger, but your girlfriends will get judgy.  I don’t know what it is with women hating on other women, but it is so prevalent.

I have experienced it myself and I hear about it all the time, women who want to feel like they are “better” than their friends – what happened to wanting to better yourself, and to supporting your friends.  Women buy magazines to take satisfaction from looking at other women’s perceived “bad hair day” or scandalous cellulite photos.  We should be celebrating each others achievements and encouraging each other!

Tara Mohr has written about this phenomena and why women are inclined to criticise each other, you can read an insightful Q&A with her here.

 

Dear woman

 

There will be plenty of people with an opinion on your health choices.  When you say you’re not drinking they will ask an imploring and concerned “why not?”  When you say you don’t eat gluten cue the eye rolling.  But don’t let this make you feel bad (in fact never let someone’s opinion  get you down).  Just chose how you react, and chose not to let it get to you.

Often when people are harsh it comes from a place of insecurity within themselves.  If they are being weird and judgemental about you not drinking or eating well, these are likely things they struggle with themselves.  If it continues, it might be time to distance yourself from those people.

You need to surround yourself with supportive people. That doesn’t mean they need to make the same choices as you, they just need to respect your choices.

Be true to yourself – you are the only person you need to answer to.