Feeling Grateful

Hi everyone,
I had the most amazing weekend last weekend.
I started my weekend off with a gorgeous early morning swim at Palm Cove with some friends.  I got there a little early and went for a walk along the beach and watched the sun rise.  As it was rising I did some Tibetian Rites (http://www.mkprojects.com/pf_TibetanRites.htm – this is just one site I have found, there are many) and then sat on the sand and took some deep breaths to enjoy where I was.  Post swim during our conversation a friend was wanting to find a new home for his herbs as he is moving into a unit so I was the lucky one who now has some gorgeous new herbs to take care of.


I was then planning on coming home and getting stuck into my list of things to do as I had a ‘free’ weekend and thought what a great opportunity to make some head way on my list of things to achieve.  It was such gorgeous weather though so I decided to abort that idea and lay in my hammock and decide what my weekend would look like.  This is a rare thing so to make sure I didn’t waste it it also became a Facebook free weekend.  This allowed me to simply enjoy where I was at the time and not flick through the feed at random moments when I waiting for something, as I sometimes tend to do.

I then decided my first stop would be the market!  To find myself a delicious coconut, to complement the gorgeous weather!  My 30th birthday is coming up soon so I then felt that some new birthday togs were in order, as I am heading away on a 5 day hike near the beach in WA (I have a secret fettish for swimmers).  So off I trotted to explore my options….I came away with some that I love!  The rest of my weekend involved some beautiful walks in nature, hanging out with my partner, some therapeutic cleaning, chats with old friends that were enjoyed in the afternoon sun and not pushed for time and a fantastic sunset on Sunday evening shared with friends.

I went to a talk by Dr Peter Dingle a couple of months ago and following his talk decided to buy one of his books called The Gratitude Guide.  While I was away in Thailand doing my pranayama course I was noting down what I was grateful for at the end of each day.  It was an excellent exercise to ensure that was spending the majority of my thoughts on all the good that is in my life.  The more we focus on what we are grateful for the more we connect those neural pathways in our brain – enhancing the positive in our lives and bringing in more positive!  Try it.  Get yourself a gratitude diary and each night just before you go to sleep spend 5 minutes writing down all that you are grateful for, or at least 3 things.

I have a lot to be grateful for at the moment and am really excited about the next 3 weeks and beyond.

  • I am leaving tonight on a plane to Western Australia where I will be seeing my brother and little niece whom I haven’t seen for 8months – my niece is the sweetest little person ever!  Come Monday morning I am going to begin my 5 day hike along the Margaret River coastline – the Cape to Cape walk.  I just loving getting out in to the wilderness and enjoying a life of simplicity.
  • All of my family are coming to visit when I return and we are going to hire a house up north and spend a week hanging out.  My dad was 60 last year and we didn’t really get to celebrate it and I’m 30 this year so it’s a excuse to enjoy being together and build sandcastles with my little niece on the beach.
  • I have just finished up working for someone else as a Naturopath so this will give me more time to focus on my own business.  An exciting leap of faith!  I can’t wait to have time to put my ideas in to action!
  • I received some raw chocolate blocks/base ingredients to create raw chocolate, from a friends company in the USA (http://yourdecadentwellness.com/chocolate/) which I simply can’t wait to make!

I best be off and hop on my plane!!  Have a beautiful weekend and remember to focus on what you are grateful for each evening.

Check out this short TedTalk for some extra info on mindfulness and meditation and how it can create more happiness in your world (http://www.ted.com/talks/andy_puddicombe_all_it_takes_is_10_mindful_minutes.html)

Janelle.

GOOD FRIDAYS: SALADS, SMOOTHIES & RAW CHOC

Hi readers,
Happy Easter to you all!

Yesterday I had the most relaxing day filled with reading, cooking, making raw chocolate with friends, sunsets, meditation and a sense of peace.

I simply wanted to share how easy it is to make a simple, healthy and filling dinner.  I had so many delicious vegetables to use up last night before I head away for a couple of days, so I created a salad.

I roasted some organic sweet potatoes, potatoes and zucchini slices in coconut oil and sea salt.  I then diced some mushrooms and bok choy and lightly fried these in coconut oil and Braggs Aminos liquid and steamed some broccoli.  Once all were cooked I combined some baby spinach, grated beetroot, bean sprouts and coriander into a large bowl.  I then added the roasted vegetables, steamed broccoli and  mushrooms and bok choy.  Some delicious olive oil, that was picked up from the farmer while I was in SA, was then drizzled over the entire salad and my mouth was watering.  The salad was delicious!

Now, while I was on a roll I decided that it would be a good idea to make a green smoothie with some fruits and greens that needed to be used up before I head away.  It was a simple green smoothie with baby spinach, cos lettuce, kiwi fruit, frozen pear (from an excess I had from my fruit box last week) and some local mango from the tablelands.  Add a little water, blend together & my smoothie was ready for breakfast the following day!

I had also had some buckwheat soaking during the day to try a new recipe I had seen on a raw food blog earlier in the week.  Buckwheat was one of the main ingredients so here are a few pointers on the benefits of this fantastic seed (that has no wheat in it – despite it’s name)…it is a fantastic source of iron, zinc, magnesium, copper and potassium.  The magnesium supports the nervous system.  It also contains rutin (which is a bioflavonoid) which supports the healing of varicose veins, hardened arteries and therefore blood circulation.  What a seed!  Here is the link to the recipe (I left out the cherries, as they are not in season and the Spirulina – hence my slice is not green) http://rawedibles.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/rawsome-gluten-free-chewy-granola-bars.html

Lastly, I was able to take my delicious Easter chocolates out of their moulds ready for friends to enjoy them when they drop over.  I don’t think I will be able to take them with me tomorrow on my Easter sea kayaking trip, which is a little sad, as I think they will turn into one giant chocolate mess!  They can be enjoyed throughout the week though.  I created one base batch and then separated this into four different bowls to make different flavours – peppermint, plain, cranberry and coconut.  It’s always lots of fun when made with friends too, which should be part of the recipe – thanks for helping Danielle!

This recipe uses cacao, not cocoa which has had no heat applied to it during it’s processing.  This allows it to contain a much higher amount of antioxidants and magnesium.  I look forward to making some of this delicious chocolate with those who are coming to my food workshops over the school holidays!

Enjoy the last 2 days of your long weekend.  Put your feet up or find time to enjoy the things you love!
I hope the bunny finds you :)

Janelle

Guilt free chocolate

RAW CHOCOLATE…

On Thursday I ran a workshop at Amanda Gale Physiotheraphy and Wellbeing about raw chocolate.  Everyone had so much fun sampling chocolate!  Here are some of the notes I presented.

All chocolate is made from cacao beans (also known as cocoa beans), however there are a lot more health benefits found in the original cacao bean compared to the processed chocolate that is available at various shops and supermarkets these days.  I would like to make you aware of how beneficial RAW cacao and chocolate is so that you can enjoy it guilt free at the same time as reaping health benefits.

Healthy chocolate contains no sugar, no dairy and no chemicals, which, when present, all play havoc on our immune system.  Refined sugar draws minerals out of the body, causes blood sugar imbalances and disorders, dehydration and is highly addictive.  Adding sugar to cacao alters cacao’s original healing properties.

Cacao is the seed of a fruit of a South American jungle tree.  Cacao beans were so highly prized by the Mayan and Aztec civilisations that they used them instead of gold as money.  The fact that cacao is always in season made this an option. 

All the bad things commonly attributed to processed chocolate bars, such as cavities, weight gain and diabetes, are actually caused by the dairy, sugar and other fillers added to cacao powder and cacao butter (the basis of a GOOD chocolate).

Due to the high amount of antioxidants cacao is considered an anti-ageing superfood.  It is considered a superfood due to its mineral content and unique properties, however, cooking, refining and processing alter these properties.

The following are found in raw cacao:

• Antioxidants (By weight, cacao has more antioxidants than blueberries, acai, pomegranates and goji berries.  Antioxidants protect us from age-related conditions and illnesses.  They shield our DNA from free-radical damage).

Magnesium (Supports the heart, increases brain power, causes strong peristalsis which helps to move waste through the bowel).

• Iron (314% of our recommended daily allowance is found in 28g serving).

Manganese (Assists iron in the oxygenation of blood and formation of hemaglobin.  It is also concentrated in tears).

Chromium (Helps balance blood sugar levels).

Zinc (Plays an important role in our immune system, liver, pancreas, sexual fluids and the health of our skin.  Zinc becomes more available in our body when we detoxify).

Copper (antioxidant, regulates iron metabolism & assists cardiovascular health).

Vitamin C (All cooked and processed chocolate has lost all of its vitamin C).

• Omega 6 (All cooked and processed chocolate contains rancid omega 6’s – trans fat.  This can cause an inflammatory reaction in the body).

• Phenylethylamine (PEA) (What we feel when we fall in love.  PEA also plays a role in focus and alertness). 

• Natural appetite suppressant (Due to magnesium and PEA).

• Anandamide (Naturally produced after exercise – the bliss chemical).

Tryptophan (Mood enhancing nutrient.  Tryptophan is critical for the production of serotonin which helps diminish anxiety and improve our ‘stress-defence shield’.  Tryptophan is heat sensitive, therefore eating raw cacao beans is an excellent way of receiving it).

Serotonin (Outlined above.  If serotonin levels are low, all could be well in our world, but we would still feel like hell).

Fiber (Cacao contains soluble fiber which helps to cleanse our intestines and bulk up our bowel movements).

• Methylxanthines (There is zero to 1/20th the amount of caffeine of conventional coffee found in cacao beans.  There is however theobromines which is a close chemical relative of caffeine.  It is not a nervous system stimulant however it does dilate our cardiovascular system).

Try making your own…it’s easy!  All ingredients are available from health food stores.

RAW CHOCOLATE RECIPE

To save the vitamin C levels and other health benefits of RAW chocolate it is important to keep the temperature below 48 degrees when melting the ingredients.

150g raw cacao powder

300g raw cacao butter

100g of 100% maple syrup 

1 pinch sea salt

1 tsp AFA algae or spirulina (optional)

Other optional add ins: zest of orange, peppermint oil (food grade – Oil Garden is a good brand), nuts, chilli, goji berries, etc

Method:

Melt cacao butter in double saucepan on low i.e. have boiling water in the bottom saucepan and then another saucepan on top so the steam is what melts it – like you are steaming vegies. Have a thermometer present so the temperature does not exceed 48 degrees.  This protects the benefits of the cacao products from being damaged by heat.  Once that is melted, stir everything else in then spoon into moulds… easy as that! 

Refridgerate.

There are many other ways to use cacao powder such as in smoothies and raw desserts.  Start exploring!  I would love to hear how you go with it and whether you would like particular recipes.  

Have a great weekend!

Janelle.