Organic Food & Gut Health

Just before Christmas last year I had the very fun (and slightly vulnerable) experience of talking on a podcast. My friend and fellow gut health advocate, Rebecca Coomes from the The Healthy Gut invited me to come on The Healthy Gut show and talk about organic food, gut health and life.

Some of the topics we covered were:

  • Why and how we started our company, Organic Angels
  • The organic industry and eating seasonally
  • Managing home and life with illness
  • Overcoming Thyroid Autoimmune & climbing Everest Base Camp
  • Being a mum and adopting healthy habits at home
  • Some insights into how I choose to do life

This podcast is aimed to encourage and inspire, especially those who are suffering with any health issues.

Take a listen here

School Lunch Box Ideas

Countdown. Only 72 hours to go until school goes back.

School holidays are wonderful, but as a working parent, holidays take precision organisation and menu planning down to the endless snacks required. There are mountains of clothes to wash, the vacuum is permanently on and not to mention the UN negotiation skills required over tech/TV time. Please tell me, it’s not just me!

So, it is around this time of January, where I can breathe a sigh of relief, high five myself that I made it through the other side. Hopefully you have too!

Now to get ready for school lunches. Do I hear a collective groan? Oh yeah, I hear you, but after the alarming amount of food my boys have consumed these school holidays I am celebrating getting back to lunch boxes. Morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea in a box. Done. Kitchen closed.

I confess I don’t do fancy lunch boxes. I experimented for a while doing stuffed lettuce wraps and homemade sushi and the like, but sadly, it came back a sloppy mess in the lunch box. How is one supposed to eat that and bounce a basketball, my child asks?

So, my advice for your sanity and to avoid food wastage. KEEP IT SIMPLE and of course HEALTHY!

Here are some ideas below and as I am not an expert as mentioned, I welcome any other advice and tips from you.

The good ol Salad Sanga

Salad Sandwich, packed with some avocado, tomato, cucumber, tomato, grated carrot, lettuce. Choose your own breads, obviously, something as healthy as possible. We like the La Madre Spelt or GF Precinct Gluten Free mini rolls.

Homemade Muffins

I have a brilliantly easy muffin recipe which I will share below. It’s a banana choc chip recipe, but I have tweaked it slightly to do other varieties like banana and raspberry, orange and poppy seed, blueberry. What you don’t use, hide in freezer. With three boys and a grown man in the house, nothing lasts long out in full view. Freezer is my friend.

Muesli Slice

Surprisingly the kids enjoy this one. Just mix together a cup of organic oats, some seeds, chopped dates, sultanas, coconut, melt some honey and coconut oil, mix well and bake for 20 mins until lightly cooked and brown on top. Of course, experiment adding some other things like cranberries, dark chocolate and whatever your child fancies. This is a recipe I make up in my head each time, so if you want the recipe, let me know and I can write it down next time.

Chopped Veggie Sticks & Fresh Fruit

Raw carrots, cucumber, beans and snow peas. Apple and grapes are back just in time for school, hoorah. Easy and nutritious raw fruit and veggies are always a winner.

Yoghurt

Tub of coconut or natural yoghurt with berries or some passionfruit.

Healthy Bites

This can be anything such as homemade seed crackers, organic natural corn chips, popcorn or lentil chips.

Hope this helps to get your head around next week and planning for when school returns.

Good luck!

How meditation changed my life

I am a wired, highly sensitive, super organised, clean freak kind of person. In the past, I would have hated to admit that to you. On the outside, I seem quite chilled, and friends comment that I appear relaxed. However, as the analogy has been used before, I was like the peaceful duck on a lake, with legs frantically moving under water. I was “on the go” from the moment I got out of bed in the morning.
I shared last week how I was diagnosed with Thyroid Auto-Immune in 2014. This was the wake-up call to also manage my stress levels. Over the years, I had many well-meaning and loving people say to me that it was normal to feel the amount of stress I had, as was part of the parcel of running a business and family. So, I accepted that and went on feeling more and more drained physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Stress feels like a leakage. Like you’re running dry and unable to freely give your all, feel present and patient to the ones you love and enjoy the moment.

Of course, occasional stressful moments are unavoidable and meditation will help in the unavoidable “manure hits the fan” moments. However, daily stress is unhealthy and we shouldn’t believe the little lie that says, “that’s normal”.

Two years on and meditation has changed me and I believe it played a huge part in my healing. I am still highly sensitive, super organised and a clean freak but I embrace that as an amazing quality in me. I am not as wired, I’m a deep thinker but I can calm the raging storm of thoughts and worries.

Business and home life is as busier as ever and here is a glimpse at my little routine, yours might look different, so go with what works for you, or keep trying until you find what works.
I set my alarm 40 minutes before the kids get up. They know to not disturb me until after 6.30am, even if they are awake beforehand (told you I was super organised!). I tiptoe out to the kitchen and make a hot water and fresh lemon. Head back to my room, roll out the yoga mat and do some yoga or gentle stretches, depends how deep I want to go. I love ocean sounds, that’s my happy place, so on goes the iTunes and I meditate for 5-10 minutes. The kids are then up in full force and I can confidently say, I am a happier mum for them in the mornings.

Other Tips:

  • Noise cancelling headphones come in super handy, so you can meditate anywhere! (But to be honest, once you get used to it, noises around you aren’t as much of a disturbance).
  • If this is all very new to you, download a meditation app. Smiling Minds is a good one.
  • Set boundaries at home with kids, pets, partners, so they know not to disturb you.
  • Start small and commit to 5 minutes a day, increase time to 10 minutes, then try twice daily.
  • Focus on your breath, don’t worry if you mind wanders, bring back focusing on breath.
  • Try a positive mantra to say in your mind, such as “I am loved, I am lovable” “I am safe” “All is well”
  • Sit up comfortably, lean up against a pillow, cross legged is not necessary.
  • Try and sit in a sunny spot to feel the warmth of the sun and get a dose of Vitamin D while you’re at it.

You will start to notice the benefits and crave it more and more, as you become happier, lighter and healthier for it.
Would love to hear how it goes for you!

Tune Into Your Body

I used to think I was invincible with eating anything I wanted and being a slim build, fortunately for me, I never stacked on weight.

However, I did hit a big wall with my health in 2014, when I was diagnosed with Thyroid Autoimmune (also known as Hashimotos). I can still remember my disbelief and outrage that me, the owner of Organic Angels, who has access to the best food in town is sick!

I did eventually get over myself and felt very relieved that finally, I have answers to why I was experiencing all the symptoms I had been experiencing over the years.

As food is central to my life, I immediately looked to food to heal my condition, which involved eliminating a broad range of foods so I could repair my leaky gut and allow my body to absorb vital nutrients found in food. (I was under advice from a professional and taking supplements as well).

For 8 months, I strictly avoided grains, including gluten free grains, dairy, soy, legumes, alcohol, nuts, sugar and nightshade veggies. Madness, right? It felt like it at first and I resisted, but I got into the groove and started to appreciate my new diet as I was becoming symptom free. When I began to slowly introduce some things back into my diet, my body was communicating very clearly to me what food was servicing me well and what wasn’t. Oh the joys of eating an egg again and feeling fine!

The interesting thing was that I was tuning into my body at a new level of awareness. I felt completely empowered and in control of my health for the first time in my life. This was the gift of food intuition and is the foundation to my continued food wellness journey and thankfully, I can freely eat some of those limited foods again.

So, how’s your food intuition? What are some of the signs that some foods aren’t serving you well? Think about the obvious and the not so obvious signs and symptoms.

Before you embark on any elimination diet, I advise that you seek professional help, as like me you will need guidance along the way. Whether you decide to or not, some small changes around your food choices could be life changing. Start to consciously tune in to how you feel after some things you eat. Listen to your body as you will be amazed at much it wants to talk to you.
Photo Credit: homethods Meditate by water – Credit to https://homethods.com/ via photopin (license)

Living Healthy, Joyfully & Abundantly in 2017

Today ends the epic year of 2016. How was it for you? End of a year always brings reflections on what it was, what it wasn’t, what it should have been. Putting the “would’ve, should’ve, could’ve” aside, it is over. Breathe and congratulate yourself, as no doubt you accomplished some amazing things and everything big or small should be celebrated.

I’ve heard around the traps that 2016 has been a challenge for many and I put my hand up for this one. However, as I think through the year as challenging as it was, I feel like I have expanded in many ways. I am grateful for the change in me through it all. Our gorgeous friend and chef Sam Gowing summed something up in her newsletter recently that resonated with me, “I’ve learned a tremendous amount about resilience this year, and the power of manifestation…” This rang so true.

Challenges bring resilience and teaches us to be flexible, fluid, patient and a little kinder to ourselves and others. It helps us adjust our mindset and belief system to look beyond the bump or mountain in the way and go after dreams and desires, even when in the natural it looks impossible. It is incredible to see the inner strength arise when focussing on manifesting the good things you want in your life. What are the good things you desire for 2017? Awesome question to ask yourself and I encourage you to write them down, journal it, post it note it, vision board it, declare it!

For me (among lots of manifestation goals) my health is always my #1 priority. If my body is out of whack then so is everything else. My health and wellbeing is my equilibrium. So that means, continuing to ensure I eat lots of organic veggies and fruit and eating all the right foods that I instinctively know nourish and make me feel energised and happy. What about you?

Farewell 2016 and hello a healthy, joyful and abundant 2017!