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?! 😉

A Veggie Adventure

Picture1

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.

photo (27) photo (29)

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!

photo (19)

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 5- Finished!

day5-1

Awhoohoo! Today is my last day of the 5 Day Juice Detox!

I’d just like to take a mo to reiterate the reasons why I did this 5 Day Juice Detox:

  • I did it to detox my body from all processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar and dairy.
  • I did it to give my digestion the time to process and clean out any toxins which might be residing in the deepest darkest parts of my gut and intestines.
  • I also did it to provide a nutritious boost to all my cells and organs with the help of daily spirulina and wheatgrass shots and mountains of fresh fruit and vegetables washed down with liters of filtered water.

I mean if that’s not good for you someone is going to have to take me aside, sit me down and give me a thorough lesson on what’s healthy!

It was once explained to me that when you’re on a detox (or that 5:2 day diet I’ve heard so much about) your system doesn’t have to spend it’s entire time trying to digest and convert the dodgy food we’re ingesting, so it can get involved in other worthwhile activities elsewhere in the body, like cleaning up your skin or improving your immune system or repairing your neglected liver.

Also while on the detox I made an extra special effort to incorporate 40/60 minutes of exercise into my daily routine and also to be in bed, with my light off by 11 PM every night.  As they say…

Feed your cells and your cells will feed you.

juicelife

So how am I feeling? Generally OK. In all honesty this week was hard, it was my first attempt at any extended detox and I don’t think I realised the level of preparation and dedication it would involve. We must have been shopping, washing, chopping, juicing, blending and cleaning up for about 2 hours a day, every day! I’m glad I did this in a quieter week or otherwise I feel I would have fallen off the band wagon.

Physically though I felt fine, actually I’d go as far to say I felt great. No bloating, no detox headaches and pains which I’d heard so much about, no stomach upsets or discomfort.

TMI possibly, but I did notice an alarming lack of poop over the week, probably due to the fact there wasn’t a lot of roughage or fiber going through me- that was an effect I didn’t quite enjoy.

I also slept like a baby all week (actually why is that even a saying?! From what I hear baby’s sleep terribly and are awake every couple of hours looking to be feed or something?!).

Oh and today during my ‘Work Lift Mirror Check’* I was surprised to notice all the little bumpy, pimply clogged looking pores on my face were looking a lot better, not perfect mind, but much improved – bar a whopper ‘3rd eye’ spot which has erupted overnight, but then that makes sense as it’s in the ‘detox’ part of my face (more on face mapping here).

*’Work Lift Mirror Check’: The lighting in our work lift is horrendous and shows up every imperfection on your skin. So, naturally, whenever I’m alone in the lift I torture myself by examining the quality of my skin in it.

Did I lose weight? As I’ve mentioned previously I wasn’t doing this to lose weight but then again I was happy to note that my skinny jeans slid on a lot easier this morning.

What was the total bill of the 5 days? About €100 for all the veg, fruit and supplements.

Would I recommend it? Hummmmm, let me put it this way, it’s not something I would rush to do again. I just found it very unnatural denying myself food and solids but I do think that the couple of days did my system the world of good. I think in future I’ll just integrate fresh fruit and veg juices into my daily routine.

Now, where’s that cheese sambo! 😉

Juice Master Detox: Day One

jason vale

I realise I’m a month delayed starting Jason Vales Summer Juice Detox, but better late than never eh?

Myself and my boyfriend have decided to try the 5 day Detox (as the 7 day just isn’t feasible at the mo), his aim is to lose a few pounds and mine is to flush out my insides- they’ve gotten a bit murky looking over the summer.

We did a massive shopping hall in Aldi on Sunday and bought the Wheatgrass powder in The Hopsack, everything came to a rather affordable €30 (but then we did have the Spirulina at home and were only buying the 1-3 day stuff), and so I very skeptically and gingerly started my first juice detox…

day-one

 

Day 1, I have to admit that I was presently surprised…

  • What do you need? A juicer (here’s my baby), a shed load of fruit and veg, some super-foods to add to the drinks, a blender and either the 7lbs in 7 Days book (I picked mine up from the local library) or the App.
  • How many juices do you have a day? You are supposed to have 5 juices a day but today we only had 4 as we were stuffed after our ‘dinner’ juice (seriously! OK we were also a little ‘juiced out of it’ and couldn’t face making another one)
  • What did the juices taste like? They were all actually really yummy. I’m OK with green, kale filled smoothies and juices at this stage, but I was still pleasantly surprised to find these juices include lots of pineapples and apples in them so that masks the taste of most of the veggies.
  • Where they difficult to make? Nope, time consuming sure but not difficult. We made all the AM smoothie the night before in a bit of a production line which definitely helped speed up proceedings.
  • Can you drink anything other then the juices? You are allowed all the water/ herbal teas you want. Just nothing caffeinated- so my Green Tea and morning Lattee was out 😦
  • How did you feel? Surprisingly OK. I had a sudden and all consuming hunger pang at about 16:30 when in work but by the time I got home and drank my ‘dinner’ juice it had subsided. I also wasn’t as tired and cranky as I normally get when hungry (h-angry as it’s known round here). We even found time and energy to go for an evening walk- which is unusual for us. Then to top it all off, I slept like a log last night (and as we all know, logs sleep super deep). One thing, I did notice that I had this kind of woolly jumper effect on my teeth and a kind of gross coating on my tongue all day (apparently that’s a recognised side effect of the Detox) mingin but bearable.

Day 1 verdict: Generally fine- bar the woolly teeth.

woolly jumper

My Juicing Adventure: My First Juice Detox

Juice-Land

Following on from a previous blog post about the wonders of juice, I have decided to try one of Jason Vales famous Juicing detox weeks starting next weekend. The detox follows Jason’s ‘7 Lbs in 7 Days’ book, starts on Saturday 13th July and lasts, ahem, 7 days. I’m not doing this detox to lose weight (actually, scrap that I wouldn’t mind losing 3/4 pounds) but my main aim is to scrub out my system, get all the junk and gunk outta there and get it all shinny and new- just in time for the onslaught that will be a week with four other couples in a villa in Tuscany, Italy!!

All details for this Juicing week can be found here, but in a nut shell:

  • I’ve gone the cheapo route and rented Jason’s book ‘7 Lbs in 7 Days‘ from my local library, this has all the juice recipes etc.
  • I’ve downloaded the App for my iphone and have my trusty list of juicing ingredients printed out and read for purchasing

I must admit I’m excited at the thought of doing this detox and getting to use my new juicer but I’m also well aware this it’s going to be difficult and I recommend people make a concerted effort to steer clear of me for the first few days at least! 😉

Any chance you are interested in trying it out too? I would love a little group of us to attempt it together- as they say, there is safety in numbers!! Although last year, over 28,000 people from 60 countries took part so I’m sure I’ll have a good support network! If you’re unsure about it I recommend giving this Lizze Fit’s blog post a read for more info- she breaks down what happens over the course of the week very nicely and is the reason I’ve decided to try it in the first place- thanks Lizze!

Anyways, I’ll keep you all updated on how I get on- wish me luck! 🙂

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!

Sneaky Synthetic Supplements

supplimentsBleedin heck, they’ve gone and fooled me again.

I’ve been taking a Multivitamin for months now, each day gulping down a little pale pink tablet, feeling all smug with the thought that I’m getting all ’23 essential vitamins and minerals’ in one go. Then my wellness bubble went and spectacularly burst, splattering against the wall and sliding down into a pool of creepy synthetics.

The reason for this was I’ve recently read how not all multivitamins are created equal and the majority of store-bought supplements are made up mostly of synthetic ingredients, which can do more harm than good. What’s the problem you ask? Basically synthetic versions of vitamins are created in test tubes and contain chemical compounds that do not occur in nature.

I checked, and each and bleedin everyone of the following ‘Synthetic Vitamins to Avoid appeared on the ingredient list of my empty ‘Sanatogen A-Z Complete Multivitamin’ bottle! Gurrrr.

  • Vitamin A: Acetate and Palmitate
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Thiamine Mononitrate, Thiamine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Riboflavin
  • Pantothenic Acid: Calcium D-Pantothenate
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B12: Cobalamin
  • PABA (Para-aminobenzoic Acid): Aminobenzoic Acid
  • Folic Acid: Pteroylglutamic Acid
  • Choline: Choline Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
  • Biotin: d-Biotin
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Ascorbic Acid
  • Vitamin D: Irradiated Ergosteral, Calciferol
  • Vitamin E: dl-alpha tocopherol, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate

I was majorly peeved when I learnt all this as one of the main themes of my ‘wellness journey’ is to stay away from adding any man-made chemicals into my system- and then I go and take a pill chock-a-block full of them?! I mean I’m taking a multivitamin to nourish my system, not pump it with synthetics! 😦 But now that I was more aware I wanted a natural multivitamin, stat.

So my investigation to find a natural multivitamin available here in Ireland began. I started in the place most modern day ‘investigations’ begin and googled high and low, to no avail. I then asked John, the owner of my favourite Organic Shop ‘Eco Logic’ what he thought and he recommended the good people of the Hobsack, Swan Centre, Rathmines.

thehobsack

A very knowledgeable lady in there recommended Terra Nova’s Living Multinutrient Complex (a bottle of 50 cost €15.99). This still isn’t 100% clean of synthetics but is a great improvement on what else is available out there, I was also impressed with the natural ingredient list (including green tea, kale, watercress, turmeric, acai berry etc.).

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I left the Hob Sack with my new multivitamin, Vitamin D spray (for himself) and a yummy, freshly made beetroot, carrot and ginger juice, enveloped again in my happy Wellness Bubble.

And so my hunt for a 100% clean multivitamin continues, but once I’ve found one I’ll report back!

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