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Peace and Kindness for a Healthier Body

Peace and kindness.

Until recently I would have said these words were fairly overrated in their use.

Now?

Well now, I couldn’t speak their praise enough.

The first way that I mean this is within.

Finding peace and kindness for and of yourself is quite possibly the greatest challenge that you can face, also without doubt the most rewarding.

It is infinite power and wisdom and of course in such a peaceful and serene way. It can move mountains with its’ force and ensures that you are never alone. It helps you sleep better, move with freedom and breathe more deeply. It allows you to live an ultimate life and who doesn’t want that?

This is the universal human longing. Plain and simple. Read more

A Clean Entertaining Platter To Impress

Spending time with loved ones is what life is all about. It makes everything that little bit brighter, that little bit better and more enjoyable. Sharing food with loved ones is high on the list of things to do and I dare say more than likely #1 universally. It is what we humans do and what we love so much, or is that just me….

You only have to visit a bar, cafe or restaurant and see the vast examples of this all around the world.

So what happens when eating better and caring more about your health takes a higher priority in your life and socialising falls to the wayside? Eating out can be a minefield for those newer to the journey and all of a sudden you find yourself healthier though somewhat of a social pariah.

What do you do?

You create delicious food for the people that you love and enjoy it with them. Without song and dance, or complication and instead made from a place of love and shared as such. Believe me when I say that I was never one for cooking for others, it all seemed too hard! Getting excited about serving people food that I had made especially in an informal entertaining manner seemed very far away. Now however, preparing food for people and seeing them enjoy it is truly special. Even more so when they don’t feel as I do about food and my health. I offer the food without explanation and take serious (and silent) pleasure observing their enjoyment at eating healthy AKA boring food. Oh the joy!

As well as preparing wonderful meal options that both satisfy and delight people, sometimes you just need snack-type savoury food and dare I say the kind of food that complements wine. My family, being of Hungarian descent are all about this kind of eating with both my mum and sister quite partial to a savoury snack accompanying a nice glass of red and who is to complain about a thing like that?! This European heritage has most certainly influenced my selections on this plate and and as I am currently in Italy enjoying being a newlywed, this post seems ever-fitting.

When someone pops over to our place for a wine and a catch up I like to have something on hand and believe that the best kind of food that you can serve is the kind that is least fussy and that you made yourself. Running to the store stressed and buying 10 items in packets doesn’t work for me nor my budget and I realised that what I was serving almost every time were my homemade dips. Not only are they delicious though also cheap and simple to prepare, doubling or tripling as spreads on nut & seed loaf, as marinades or atop whatever salad I am enjoying that day. Talk about versatility!

Alongside my dips I wanted to create a nutrient-dense cracker (still in the laboratory on that one) and a special though simple version expanding on the classic entertaining option – olives.

Presenting to you therefore an entertaining platter to both impress and nourish the people that you love (including you!) – Orange & Rosemary Marinated Olives, Coriander Pesto, Hummus & Crackers. The crackers I make do contain gluten though you could easily include a gluten-free option if need be and otherwise this platter is vegan, sugar-free and delicious! Read more

I’m getting married tomorrow

Tomorrow I will be married. Married to my best friend and in the most spectacular of settings, on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, in the town of Positano.

Surrounded by 21 of our nearest and dearest, celebrating our love and affection for one another and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

This decision to get married and in this way was, although simple, one which I truthfully didn’t know could reveal so much to, and about me.

Getting married was not on my radar, it wasn’t part of my plan.

{insert shock horror here}

I have always enjoyed my own company and understood the power of this; it has been important than being with someone for the sake of it. Don’t get me wrong I know this isn’t always the reason that people want to be married though the motivation to be in such a position sometimes comes from a less than- independent headspace. Humans often want to be with other humans more than we want to, or can be alone.

Of course that’s easy to say when you haven’t felt overwhelming, genuine, supportive and incredible love you might be saying?

Even then it still took me a little while to get on board with the idea. Read more

Rainbow Coleslaw

It’s certainly no secret that I love salads.

Why?

Why not.

They are versatile, seasonal, simple, nourishing and infinitely endless in their possibilities. Yes I have an eBook dedicated to the not-so-humble salad and literally jam packed with examples of the above however… this newbie was created only recently in my kitchen and I simply had to share it with you.

It ticks all the boxes and complements any kind of protein that takes your fancy…

My take on the classic coleslaw (which I have never liked) as it is almost always soggy and drowning in crappy mayonnaise. This version however is all about colour and flavour, allowing the beautiful raw ingredients to speak for themselves, satisfy you and only takes 5 minutes to create. Not bad right?

Vital to the success of this salad; and most salads if I am honest; is the texture and preparation of the ingredients. I think the reason that raw food puts most people off is that their experience has been large and unappetising chunks of cucumber in a salad and I am with you, who on Earth would want that!? I am all about honouring the raw ingredients and preparing them in the best possible way, allowing them to shine and taste delicious. As I don’t consider myself a Masterchef, I prepare a lot of my salads with the very handy assistance of a mandolin; slicer not musical instrument and a very good tool in the kitchen!

Initially I toyed with the idea of a creamy dressing for this salad though I found the flavour and texture to be too overpowering, instead of enhancing, it detracted. Rather I have gone with a coriander dressing which is quite literally the simplest dressing you will ever make. It does call for macadamia oil which adds a lovely velvety and nutty element to the salad so although yes you can use a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil in its place, you will be losing that macadamia flavour.

Let’s go! Read more

How Fat Can Make You Thin

When I am asked what is the one misconception that I would like to clear up on the topic of nutrition, there is only answer.

FAT.

No not in the sense of calling you as such, though about the macronutrient that gets such an incredibly bad rap in our Western society. You know how it goes, “don’t eat eggs they give you high cholesterol”, let’s buy skim milk and low-fat cheese as it’s better for our heart”, and my favourite “butter is the devil, bring me the margarine!”

Sound familiar?

Even the most educated and health-aware within my group of friends, asked me recently how many eggs I eat each day and was very concerned about my answer; proof of how entrenched these beliefs are for so many of us.

If then these beliefs are so wrong, then how did this happen? Why is no one correcting it?

Firstly, Dr Ancel Keys happened and secondly, people are correcting it. Let’s start with the latter point and the TIME Magazine covers shown below (Dr Keys is the man on the far left) – what a change and correction indeed! When I first saw this image, I was grinning from ear to ear!

Time Magazine FAT covers

To the former point, the truth is that researchers don’t always get it right, and Dr Ancel Keys is case in point. Read more

Gluten-free Granola

As a fierce lover of muesli, granola was not high on my list of recipes to create. I first heard the word granola when visiting the US as a young teenager. Enjoying breakfast in a Californian hotel with my Dad, I remember hearing someone say they wanted to order granola for breakfast and I was intrigued! When their breakfast arrived however I was not impressed – a mushy and unappealing bowl.

So perhaps this image stuck and it wasn’t until looking to expand my breakfast options that I considered trying my hand at granola. After trialling a few well respected foodie’s granola recipes I have created my own combo; balancing the carbohydrates, proteins and fats, sweet vs savoury elements, the texture and the all-important yum-factor!

As well as a traditional breakfast option, this granola works fabulously in smoothies to bulk them up and provide you with extra energy, atop yoghurt and fresh fruit as dessert or alone and out of the jar as I have been caught doing more than a few times now…. Take a container and leave it at work for early morning starts when you don’t get time for breakfast or when you are starving and need food immediately.

Although containing carbohydrates (oooohh yes that dirty word!!) this recipe is gluten-free instead electing to include brown rice puffs and quinoa flakes which are both awesome and unique in their own right. I find this a satisfying and easy granola option which is light on the sugar and high on the flavour scale. When trying other granola recipes, the size of the nuts bothered me and so this recipe calls for them to be whizzed or chopped roughly. That way each mouthful is more even and not so dominated by one flavour or texture.

If you have an intolerance of dislike for a particular ingredient swap it out for something else and should the inclusion of grains bother you, omit them. The recipe is packed full of flavour so although it will be different, you would not be ruining the recipe so do your own thing however… I urge that unless you are allergic, to leave the pecans as they offer this incredibly rich, caramel flavour to the granola – heavenly!

On the topic of ingredients, like any cooking endeavour, the beginning is always an outlay. If you don’t usually use ingredients like those included in this granola recipe then buying them at once will be an expense however if you have the good fortune of living near a bulk whole foods store, this will make it cheaper for you. Allowing you to buy only what you need and not pay for brands or packaging, most even let you take your own containers to fill! The other important point is that once you enjoy these ingredients you will find yourself reaching for them in the weekly shop as opposed to something in a packet and in that way each batch that you make may only require the addition of one ingredient as the rest are already in your pantry. Read more

Inspiration Insider | Megan Yonson

The universe can be a very funny place and if you had told me that the people who I find inspiring, genuine and all-around fabulous on social media platforms would become my friends…. well I think you know how this goes.

The fact however, is that this exact phenomenon has occurred! Doing what I love, following my heart and connecting with others on the same path is absolutely fantastic and something that I feel immensely grateful for on this journey. Better still when I can share these wonderful souls with you! So this volume of Inspiration Insider will feature one such person; a warm, funny and intelligent young woman who shines so brightly and has been an immensely fabulous inclusion in my life – Megan Yonson.

Meg is the kind of girl who has an insatiable appetite for life, for living the heck out of it and sharing her knowledge and passion for food along the way. She is a proud country girl, hailing from Albury and now calling Sydney home, where as a qualified Nutritionist she spends her days between the I Quit Sugar office, creating delicious food for herself and those around her, consulting with other wellness companies and running her own wonderful blog – Meg and Veg – busy girl…..

Lucky for us, Meg took some time to share with us an insight into her life. Let’s dive in and find out about what this spunky Nutritionist eats, how she moves her body, the songs on her iPod and a seriously awesome chicken stock recipe that anyone can master! Read more

The Bread That You Must Make Immediately

Sometimes there is nothing better in life than a seriously good sandwich. Until about 8 years ago, I ate a variation of this meal every single day. It was at the point that two things occurred, 1) bread began to take on a demonic appearance in my mind and 2) I started discovering other types of food!

Whilst these days I don’t think that bread is quite the devil, I do limit my intake of it. Why? There are better options and for me, that is what my food choices come down to, not whether something is good or bad.

First up, what is bread to me?

It varies dependant on my location though it’s absolutely always freshly baked with no preservatives and made with love. It is simple, full of flavour and operates as a fantastic vessel to hold other delicious bits of food. If I am at home, I enjoy a Quinoa/Soy sourdough, if I am in Paris who can go past a fresh baguette and if in Italy foccacia tends to be my weak point. Like all whole foods, bread should get mouldy and gross – fast. Those supermarket options packed full of preservatives for longer shelf life are a travesty to bread, forget them!

So now that we addressed that key point, when I say there are better choices than bread what do I mean?

I could quite honestly eat several slices of good bread with little fullness and this is because of the heavy-grain focus; the lack of protein and fat in bread means it is not the most filling. It just isn’t, as much as I wish it was and there in lies part of the issue with bread consumption, you eat a fair bit of it in order to feel satisfied. Totally OK and it makes sense though I feel that there are so many better choices which make my body sing so why not choose those!? When we feel more satisfied we don’t over-eat or tend to make as many poor decisions when it comes to our wellbeing so all in all this is a good situation! Read more

How Being Focused Almost Ruined Me

This past week has been the biggest of my life, so far.

A media and industry eBook launch (photos below), two incredible photo shoot opportunities (stay tuned!), media interviews and preparing to teach my first workshop.

Grateful, excited, humbled, exhausted from my eyes to my toes and feeling super satisfied all at the same time. My instagram has been awash with my latest hashtag #dreamsdocometrue.

The day before my launch party, I was talking to a dear friend of mine and someone who had observed my noticeable absence from her life over the past few months. Instead of feeling defensive or hurt by her words, I felt sad. That this gorgeous person in my life had felt pushed out by me and that I had barely noticed. Not a great feeling I have to say…

However from all challenging and uncomfortable feelings, comes growth; if we choose to pay attention that is.

Amidst the biggest week of my life, which was also part of the biggest month and biggest year, I realised that my tendency to go within, to focus so absolutely on my dreams and to rely on myself was as much an asset as a weakness. Read more

Dreamy Creamy Porridge & Stewed Rhubarb

Porridge is one of those dishes that always makes me feel great. The thought of consuming a nurturing bowl of creamy oats is instantly warming and drool-worthy!

Growing up within a European family, the only way to cook porridge was on the stove and with milk. 20-something years later and nothing has changed. OK well maybe some things… For one, I am the most surprised to discover that my nostalgic childhood recipe is even better with the use of almond milk!

I have always been a plain-jane with my porridge topping, preferring the nutty, chewy taste and texture, allowing the oats to shine through with maybe a hint of cinnamon and a little fresh fruit to complement. Although this combination is still fantastic, last year I started creating unsweetened stewed rhubarb and adding it to my porridge (read: everything and more on that later) as a wintery treat. This combination changed me forever. Its’ ease, deliciousness, simplicity and nourishment are too good not to share.

Oats are my kind of superfood.

On the science front they are cholesterol lowering, rich in Vitamin E and dietary fibre (more than any other grain) and contain manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.

For me, one of the winning points about oats is their effect on blood sugar and insulin. As someone with genetic insulin resistance this is a super crucial element to the food that I consume and for anyone looking to prevent diabetes and a whole host of issues! Just like the ads tell us, it is the beta-glucan levels in oats that slow the rise in blood sugar levels following a meal, ensuring that changes in blood sugar levels are avoided.

The other bonus is that I can eat a bowl of porridge and even with my activity levels, be all set and satisfied for 5 hours. There is little else that can do this for me and I feel incredible when I have porridge for breakfast! This point is always very interesting to anyone looking to lose a little weight as oats are so satisfying, even in smaller amounts and therefore weight management gets a helping hand.

So you eat something you love and both your insulin and weight can be controlled – amazing! Read more

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