Great Big Wellness Geek

Geek

Today Mr Amazon Delivery Guy confirmed something I didn’t even realise I was dreading – confirmation that I’ve officially become a ‘Great Big Wellness Geek’ (GBWG for short)… and I’m not quite sure what to think of it.

Basically Mr Delivery Guy brought with him my coveted BPA Free 2 liter water bottle, the one that was as cheap as chips (€12 including postage and package!!) the one I got from these guys at New Wave Enviro Products, the bottle I wrote about here and have been only dying to receive.

Here’s a pic of him (the BPA bottle, not the Delivery Guy you ninny!)

BPA Free Bottle

Isn’t he a cutie?!

The strange thing was that when it was delivered to my office I was too embarrassed to take it out of it’s box and have a good old ‘New Delivery Inspection’ (like I used to in days of yorn when my delivers included Dermalogica products).  You see half my office already thinks I’m mental – what with the green juices I do be sup’ing, the homemade green lunches, the herbal Nettle and Green teas I have stationed beside their Nescafe and Barry’s Tea and the floral pouch of supplements I have on my desk (I deservingly get a guffaw of laughter every time I take a spray of my Vitamin D!!) so I think I just felt this BPA bottle went that step too far for what I’m ready for just now.

Basically I’ve decided there’s a few stages involved in Wellness:

GBWG Stage 1: This is the stage where you’re toying with becoming a GBWG. It’s a stage where you Google ‘cleanses’, ‘effects of sugar’, ‘benefits of raw food’, tentatively replace your beauty products with natural ones, drink a green smoothie once a month (and only get through half cos you think it tastes like grass) but generally go with the flow and keep your beliefs and preferences under wraps.

GBWG Stage 2: Then there’s the next stage, the one where you start requesting veggie options when eating out (instead of not wanting to rock the boat), actively count the number of fresh fruit and veg you’ve eaten each day and panic if it’s less then 4 and have a freaker if someone sprays Antiperspirant Deodorant near you in a confined space (‘agghhhh my poor lungs’!!).

The thing is I feel like I might just have pushed through into Stage 2… and I’m not yet sure how I feel about becoming that person.

We all find ourselves a bit cringy at times right?!

(There is a Stage 3 but I’m not even going there today)

Well anyways I know what Oprah (does anyone else have a mental block on how to spell that woman’s name?! My first attempt is always Opera!) and her cronies would say…

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And other fabulously motivating (but oddly irritating) phrases. But sometimes it all gets a bit much and you’re just a bit daunted about being out on your own, and basically you just aren’t bloody well ready for being at GBWG Stage 2.
Who knew an Amazon delivery could invoke such emotions eh?! 😉
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A Veggie Adventure

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As a reader of my blog you’ll (hopefully!) have picked up the fact I’ve spent the last year trying to live a more rewarding and fuller life by changing my diet and general relationship with food. I’m very proud to have gone from the person who slinks past the fruit and veg aisle, trying to make as little eye contact with the courgettes as possible, to becoming the person who yelps in excitement when they see pumpkins and kale on sale (true story).

Over the course of the year:

  • I’ve realised the effects stimulants have and reevaluated the emphases I place on them- therefore reducing my intake of sugar, alcohol and my beloved coffee.
  • I’ve put my ‘Little Ms Skeptical’ hat to one side, and listened to the incredible findings of those vegan advocates (the ones I once sneered at for being ‘mad hippies’) and as a result I’ve massively reduced my intake of meat and diary.
  • After a truly awful 1st try, I’m making a concerted effort to have regular green juices and smoothies. I even undertook a juice detox (which you can read about here)!
  • I’m also back on my supplements, drinking clean(er) water and eating lots and lots of fresh fruit and veggies- the greener the better in my book.

Next on my agenda is to find ways to get more of that good green stuff (or ‘rabbit food’- as my Granddad calls it!) into my system by extending my plant based cooking repertoire (and not having to rely on raw carrots like this poor guy!)

Rabbit-eating-carrot

Here’s some of my attempts so far:

1. Cauliflower base pizza: This one is cool!  I just love finding new ways to get plants into my system. You feel like you’ve found some kind of ‘life cheat’ when you’re mixing the dough made from cauliflower and ground almonds. The tomatoes sauce and lemon and basil drizzle really bring out the flavour too.

I was a bit disappointed not to have the crunchiness of a normal pizza base, but otherwise I felt on top of the world after eating this and would make it again in a flash.

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2. Courgette pasta: I actually can’t remember where I found the recipe for this one, so here it is from me old memory:

  • Two courgettes, very finely cut length ways (or else, if your a Fancy Pants, run them through a spiraliser. I obviously didn’t have one in the pic below)
  • 100ml toasted hazelnuts
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in two
  • Half a jar of the best quality pesto you can afford
  • Mix it all together in a bowl and, ‘hey pesto’ (intentional typo!), get stuck in!

This is great on it’s own, maybe for lunch but I tend to have it on the side of some fish or something a little bit more substantial.

corgette pasta

3. Spinach and squash salad: This is actually a variation of a meal I ate in the Mellow Fig down in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. I tend to use feta or goats cheese instead of the gorgonzola and only use olive oil and apple cider vinegar as the dressing.

 It’s a great one for these colder days when you still want to eat something nutritious and refreshing.

Baby-Spinach-Salad-with-Roasted-Butternut-Squash,-Dried-Cherries,-Gorgonzola-and-Pepitas

Happy Cooking! 🙂

September: A month for a fresh start

Boy, oh boy, did I have a good summer- friends weddings, mini city breaks, a week-long holiday in Italy, lots of wine and bread, dinners, nights out and lots and lots of sugar, salt and delicious toxins!

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As much as I’ve loved the summer and all the indulgence, it’s left me feeling a bit ‘off’. My skin is back looking rubbish, my energy levels are bottoming out again- I long to be back in bed most days, my brain fog is creeping back, my mood is also defiantly darker and my old tumtum is playing up a fair bit.

I’ve always loved September, for me it brings with it a sense of ‘fresh starts’ – more so than January does. I associate January with being broke, cold and depressed while September for me is the time of new books, shiny new shoes, hikes on crunchy Autumn leaves, hearty meals, routine and new habits. In fact it was this time last year that I first decided to stop just ‘investigating’ wellness and holistic health and actually start living it.

(Basically, last September, after a particularly fun night out with friends I decided to walk the whole way home, a 30 minute walk,  at 2:30 AM, down quiet, deserted streets, all alone –  just so I could get cheese and garlic chips from my local chipper. I know, I know, so dangerous, such a flippen eejit.

I woke up the next morning, with a horrible hangover, eye make up everywhere, the remains of the chips on the coffee table and I decided I had had enough. I decided then and there I didn’t want to be ‘that’ girl no more and gingerly set out to become the person I wanted to be).

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So, on this note I’ve decided that this September is again going to be my wellness ‘fresh start’. I’m going to go back to:

  • Drinking lemon and hot water each morning
  • Reducing my coffee intake to 1 skinny latté every other day
  • Doing a big veggie/ fruit shop each week so I’m more prepared for the week ahead
  • Eating at least 5 different fruits/ veg a day
  • Dry body brush before my shower everyday (not just at the weekends!)
  • Drinking 2 liters of filtered water a day (…must buy a filter!)
  • Get my body moving for at least 20 minutes every day– more yoga, get out and start walking in my lunch break, using our new gym.
  • Meditate more often (perhaps I’ll start a meditation class?)
  • Consciously work on silencing my ‘ego’ or ‘negative DJ’- she’s getting awfully loud and agressive lately
  • Reduce my reliance on cheese and bread and actively seek out and make new alternatives
  • Drinking either a juice or smoothie everyday
  • Cut out all beer and cocktails, they seem to be making an unwelcome return
  • Reduce my reliance on Facebook and Daily Mail… those bloody sites will be the death of me!!
  • Replace all my supplements which have long run out
  • Buy a vegan cook book and become more confident with vegan recipes
  • Take more time to Skype all my BFF’s living in far off places- I always feel 100% times more connected and grounded after a good old natter!

Yup, I think that is enough to keep me going! Here’s to feeling back fit and healthy by Christmas!

Juice Detox: Day 3

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Today I was so happy to graduate on to different types of juices- as they say ‘variety is the spice of life’ (well no, it turns out ginger is the spice of life- it was so great waking up to a carrot and ginger juice this morning!). The afternoon juice was also very much welcomed as it was a kind of ‘juice- thie’ (see what I did there?! Juice + Smoothie?!… Sorry the lack of food is effecting my sense of humour) with a blended banana and live probiotic yoghurt thrown in at the end. DElish!

I’m not going to keep you long today, as I need to go get some work done, but if you ever decide to try a juice detox I just wanted to give you these prep tips:

1. I recommend having a few bowls out when making your juices. As per the pic, 2 for the chopped fruit and veg for our AM juices (chopped so it can be easily slid down the tube into the juicer) and then one for all the rubbishy bits. It just makes everything a lot neater and more efficient.

Juice2. If you are making the juices the night before make sure you have lots of appropriate sized glass jars and lids to store them in overnight. When fillings the jars you need to fill them right up to the very tip as the more oxygen in the jar the more they are oxygenated which reduces the digestive enzymes in the juices.

3. Listen to Jason Vale’s motivational clips each day on the App. Granted his manner and over enthusiasm is annoying, but he actually talks a lot of sense and gives you a kick of motivation when it’s really needed.

Day 3 Verdict: A bit of juice variety has pulled me back from the brink!

Super Trendy Super Food: Maca

MacaPowder660

This time last year if you had asked me if I knew what Maca was I would wonder whether we were talking about a person, place or thing. So let me break it down a bit before we jump in. Maca is an ugly looking root originally from Peru. It’s sold mainly in Health Food Shops and comes as a dried powder in baggies for about €10.

As per the title we’re talking about a super food here, however in my books this stuff is more than a super food- this stuff is magic.

The great thing about Maca is that it works with the needs of your body. So for some it can decrease stress levels, others it can be used to enhance stamina, energy and endurance and for some it can be used to help with their fertility.

The reason I love it though is the effects it has on our hormones. Maca works with the body to stabilise any hormone that is out of wack. So if you are struggling with general PMS, feeling anxious, irritable, low, experiencing irregular or painful periods there’s a strong possibility your hormones aren’t operating as they should and could do with a little helping hand. That’s where Maca comes in.

Because of it’s lovely malty flavour I normally add mine to smoothies or use it when doing some raw cooking. Here’s two of my favourite Maca recipes:

1. Natasha’s Raw Living Food Energiser Smoothie: Throw all off the following into a smoothie maker or blender:

  • ¼ pineapples
  • 2 oranges peeled
  • ½ organic lemon whole (yup, throw the rind in too!)
  • 1tsp maca
  • 1 cup coconut water

 2. My New Roots Nut Butter Cups

 

Ghastly Green Smoothies

Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

The Green Smoothie: Take 1
The first time I tried to drink a Green Smoothie was when we returned from a holier in Spain and France. We had spent two weeks eating cheese, bread and pizza, all washed down by a steady stream of red wine. (oh God I love cheese and pizza. Maybe this wellness thing isn’t for me?!… Focus Eimear focus!!)

My poor system was crying out for some fruit and veg. So I decided to try what my Wellness blogs were preaching and set out making this famous Green Smoothie they all rave about.  I mixed the following:

  • A handful of spinach
  • Kale (which, by the way, I had never seen before, never mind bought or tasted)
  • Cucumber
  • Parsley
  • Almond milk
  • A teaspoon of bee pollen
  • A teaspoon of spirulina
  • A teaspoon of Maca

I whizzed it together in my Smoothie maker and drank the greeny sludge as my boyfriend looked on in disgust. Well, sweet BLOODY HELL, it was revolting!! Like literally, the worst thing I have ever tasted. I made myself take 3 sups and then just had to fling the remainder down the sink. It was so awful that I actually thought I would never be able to eat anything again, that it had tainted my mouth forever. I was so disappointed as I really felt this Wellness thing was for me and I had fallen at the first hurdle. I then had a glass of white wine to make my failure less painful.

Green Smoothie

The Green Smoothie: Take 2
As with all heartbreaks, time was a great healer, and after a while (I’m talking months here) I began venturing back to the Green Smoothie. All the research I was doing was pointing away from fruit filled smoothies due to their high sugar content (know this: a regular fruit based smoothie can be equal to 6 spoonfuls of sugar!!) and pointing me towards the green plant based, ‘super smoothie’!

I started back by just building up the green content slowly, e.g. adding small handfuls of spinach to regular fruit smoothies. And I am now proud to officially say I’m a Green Smoothie Convert! I’m sneakily getting 3/4 of my 5 Fruit & Veg a day into my system in a fast, effective and fun way and they taste is amazing. Honestly! Don’t get put off by the green colour!

Green = Good!!

Today I make (on my Kenwood ‘Smoothie To Go’) and voluntarily drink a delicious Green Smoothie regularly, it consists of the following:

  • 1 glug or two of almond milk (sans sugar)/ or coconut water
  • 1 handful of washed spinach
  • Thumb length section of pealed cucumber
  • 1 Banana
  • Another fruit of choice (I add another from a peeled apple/ pear to mixed frozen berries from the freezer)
  • 1 spoonful of a Linwoods mix (I use the probiotic and flaxseed one and bought it for €7 in Dunnes)
  • 1 spoonful of chia seeds
  • 1 tbls of spirulina (a green superfood- found in most health food stores)

Kenwood- Smoothie 2 Go

Go ooooooon, give it a go!

Raw Review

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If you’d have told me this time last year I’d be going to a raw food class 12 months later, and enjoying it I’d of laughed in your face and told you to lay off the booze… But that’s exactly what happened last weekend.

I came across ‘Natasha’s Living Food’ at the Mind Body Spirit event in the RDS and was blown away when the nice man behind the counter explained that everything Natasha and the team make are raw… everything, including their soups, pizzas, cakes, brownies and sushi. AND not only are they raw they are also wheat, dairy, egg and gluten free! This blew my mind, so I was 1st in line for her ‘cookery’ course last weekend.

So what is ‘Raw/ Living Food’?

Eh, it’s food that isn’t cooked…  Duh.

Ok smarty-pants, well why is it good for us?

Raw foods contain live enzymes that aid digestion, which activate as they are consumed. Once a food is heated above 118 F the enzymes begin to die, and destroys nutrients, minerals, amino acids and vitamins, and alters the natural metabolic structure of the food. So when you eat a food in it’s raw form you’re getting the very best from it.

Raw food also promotes an alkaline gut (as opposed to an acidic one) which boosts our immune system, lowers inflammation and reduces our chances of getting sick.

Sounds good. So what did Natasha make?!

  1. We started off easily with a refreshing and cleansing smoothie made with lemons, coconut water, pineapple and a sprinkle of Maca. As someone who’s only arriving at this super food party I was fascinated to hear how the body uses Maca for energy, stamina and as a hormone stabilisation. It’s defo on my shopping list.
  2. Natasha showed us how to make homemade almond milk (goodbye store bought crap), with which she made a delish ‘chocolate milkshake’ with cacao and cinnamon. Mmmmmm 🙂
  3. Then we moved onto sprouting and fermented foods and how they can give our gut an extra helping hand. Again this was all brand new to me so I lapped it up. Natasha is a hive of knowledge on nutrition and her enthusiasm is infectious. You feel healthier just listening to her.
  4. Then we had a spicy green soup– yes, a RAW soup, made on miso, spinach, coriander, coconut, Thai spices all blended together and heated with some hot water. Served sprinkled with sprouts. Bleedin delish!
  5. Natasha then made a cake with a seaweed mousse! You’ll just have to take my word for it that this was also scrumy
  6. We then had a late lunch of pizza and salad. But not any old pizza- this was a pizza with a buckwheat, flaxseed and courgette base, the cheese made of cashews, with an olive tapenade and tomatoy/ garlicy topping. Again the flavours worked really well together and I wolfed down the lot, not missing mozzarella for a minute.

All in all it was a great day and once this hectic week is over I can’t wait to get testing the recipes out myself!

Here’s a few pics of what we ate (with thanks to Viorica Vesa- another raw food enthusiast!)

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Magic spiralina

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