Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Only Trend Is Happiness

One part of my job role as a makeup artist was to read fashion magazines to keep up to date with the latest trends around the world.

I loved researching the latest trends and what was “hot” for that season.  It didn’t feel like a job or chore, I could do it endlessly and even when I started to move on from makeup I still bought all the magazines to read, as they were something I enjoyed. I also thought they were beneficial by giving advice and tips on self love, fashion, exercise, beauty, relationships and more.

These magazines weren’t benefiting me at all; they were robbing me of my self esteem and influencing me to judge others.

Every single time I saw an image in a magazine I would immediately compare the picture of a photo shopped woman to myself.

I have read many helpful articles in magazines that promote a healthy body image but pictures say more than words, so when an image that accompanies the article is of an unrealistically thin, flawless woman, the article has lost all meaning, I am already distracted and defeated.

Magazines also create body image issues by manufacturing problems that you never once had.
I remember reading an article about a new trend that models were getting done through plastic surgery. It was to remove fat in a certain area, an area that you would never have considered. After I finished reading the article I realised how ridiculous the procedure is, but I still started to be conscious of the area.

I used to thrive on the gossip section, reading all about the stars’ lives and the dramas that went on. It was a time when I could focus on other people’s dramas rather than my own.
This had negativity all over it. Not once did I feel great about reading made up claims and rumours about the stars that drag you in with headlines such as “STARS WITHOUT MAKEUP” and “ CELEBRITY CELLULITE “.

Talking negatively about someone because they have cellulite as if it is forbidden and offensive to be seen with it in public is nothing more than appalling. The majority of women have cellulite regardless of how much they weigh; it’s natural and it’s not something that any of us should feel excluded and unworthy over.

This is the same with showing stars without makeup. It gives you the impression that it’s a crime to be seen without makeup. Some women these days literally refuse to walk out of the door without makeup. The thought of it is overwhelming and stressful to some and the magazines are just feeding this fear.

I thought these magazines were helping me by giving me fashion advice, but they were just making me feel unworthy and unfashionable if I didn’t own a certain item of clothing or not living a life that is cool enough.

Everything was materialistic and I didn’t appreciate the things I had and know what my own personal style really was.

Since January 2012 I have not bought any magazines, I haven’t read them in waiting rooms and I have not even looked at them while lining up to buy groceries.

If one thing has helped me connect more with myself, this would be it:
Not having unrealistic images to compare myself to; not having the pressure of looking a certain way in order to be considered fashionable and focusing on my own authentic life rather than someone else’s life that has been dramatised.

Until there is a magazine that is 100% photo shop free and truly promotes a healthy body image and self confidence, I will not support magazine companies by buying them.

I don’t expect you to give up reading magazines but next time you do be aware of how they are making you feel.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Lisa

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Filed under Body Image, Serenity, Social Pressure

Cacao Delights

It’s all fun and games to laugh at a vegan until they come running asking for food.

Last weekend my brother came to visit and to rub it in my face spend time together for a few days before flying over to Europe.

We have always eaten differently, I sit up for breakfast with my cinnamon oats with banana and trial mix on top while he sits next to me and eats 3/4 packet of cream and jam biscuits with a large cappuccino. We never comment on each other’s eating habits because we both accept each other’s choices and have also learnt from a young age that if the topic is brought up it leads to a debate which can last for as long as it takes for him to admit I’m right hours.

So it was interesting when my brother and his friend came over and were found searching in the fridge for my delights. My inner goddess started to dance, sing and get excited.

They asked if I could teach them how to make them (in other words they just wanted me to make them while they sit and wait for them to be ready). I didn’t mind at all because these are such a quick and delicious recipe that can be made within 10 mins.

Ingredients

1 ¼ cup walnuts

¾ cup pitted dates

2 T organic raw cacao

1 ts vanilla essence

Desiccated coconut

Instructions

  1. Add walnuts and dates into a food processor and process until the mixture is combined
  2. Add cacao and vanilla essence into the food processor and process again until thoroughly mixed all the way through. Stop every now and again to push down the sides on the bowl.
  3. Spoon out mixture with a desert/teaspoon and roll into round balls
  4. Lightly coat each ball in coconut and store in an air tight container.
  5. Store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

I did tell the boys to leave the delights in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up but as soon as I left the kitchen they were both into them. Standard.

I love delight balls because they look and taste amazing and have nothing but healthy, nutritious ingredients.

I will be posting more delight recipes soon but for those who haven’t seen my Apricot Delight Recipe make sure you check it out.

Question for the day

Do you and your family / partner eat the same foods?

Lisa

5 Comments

Filed under Raw, Recipes, Snacks

Consuming Chemical Cocktails

At one point I was eating so many toxins and chemicals, I’m sure that if you were to put an open flame near me I would have caught a light.

I have always known that the additives in food and drinks are dangerous but through my illness I chose to listen to the photo-shopped girl in the advert promoting a product with a promise of losing weight which then led you to be as happy as she looked.

When I started noticing my hands shaking and being short of breath I asked one of the models I was doing the makeup for whether she ever worried about the chemicals and artificial sweeteners she consumed in order to stay slim. She looked at me, laughed and said “You have to be realistic. No-one sees your insides; no-one gets a promotion by having a good lung”.

Yes, probably the worst advice ever given, but she said it with such confidence that made me think I was being stupid worrying about the negatives of the chemicals.  So I talked myself into thinking I was doing myself a favour by eating these “diet” foods.

I remember at one point my hands were shaking so much I was convinced I was getting Parkinson’s. Karma for all the times I felt impatient when my pop was slow because he struggled with the disease.

I was getting heart palpitations more and more frequently.  I was anxious, irritated, depressed and my skin was in such a bad state I could have been mistaken for a giant pimple.

One night after I finished my 99% fat and sugar free hot chocolate, I started to get short of breath so I forced myself to read all the chemicals I was consuming and research all of them. There were a lot.

All of the symptoms that I was showing were on the computer screen. I could no longer talk myself into believing it was karma. Depression was labelled as a symptom in nearly every single chemical I was consuming and as I said before, there were a lot!

It has been months since I have had any chemicals at all and I can’t explain how different I feel physically and mentally.

This is why I am so passionate about the lifestyle I now choose to live because without all of these chemicals I am also living without all of the dangerous symptoms I was experiencing.

What upsets me is how hard it is to find foods without these chemicals. Most of my food can be bought at a fruit and veg store but for others who purchase processed foods it’s a nightmare to find anything without harmful toxins.

Nutritionists and well-known dieticians advertise “health “bars for people who don’t have time to research what goes into their food.  Yet the products they’re promoting are full of harmful additives that contradict everything these people once advised their clients and readers prior to their hefty pay cheque.

Although it may be more time consuming at the start, it is worth reading the ingredients that go into your foods. Don’t buy anything that has any numbers or words you aren’t familiar with.

It may be as simple as switching brands once you’re aware of what brands don’t have any chemicals, preservatives and additives in them.

Allergies, skin irritations, insomnia, mood changes and depression are only a few of the symptoms that these nasties are causing you to live with; there are hundreds of other health hazards that come along with foods that contain toxins.

So the advice of not getting a promotion by having a good lung couldn’t be further from the truth. When you are healthy on the inside it reflects how you look and feel on the outside. Our brain can function better in order to work and enjoy our authentic life we are meant to live.

Lisa

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Filed under Health

Comforting Chilli

After my last post Ironing Out The Inhibitors I thought today’s recipe would be a perfect opportunity to share with you one of my favourite iron rich dishes.

I sometimes get so caught up in creating new dishes that I forget about my old favourites but this one is definitely not going to be forgotten this winter!
It is such a comforting meal that bursts with flavour and everyone seems to love it just as much as I do.

It is a delicious way of getting in your iron from the beans and spinach mixed in with capsicum (vitamin C) to increase iron absorption.

Including beans into your diet has many health benefits.

Beans are an excellent source of fiber which prevents blood sugar levels from rising to rapidly after a meal.
If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, kidney beans can really help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy.

1 cup of kidney beans provides 15.3 grams of protein so this is just another reason to love and make beans a staple in your diet.

There are so many chilli recipes out there but this is one that I made years ago and I always default back to it because it is so simple, quick and the flavours all complement each other perfectly.

Ingredients

Serves 2

1 can kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
½ red capsicum
1 carrot
1 cup button mushrooms
½ small brown onion
½ tsp minced garlic
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ mild curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp fresh basil
2 cups baby spinach (tightly stuffed)
Nutritional Yeast (optional)

Instructions

  1. Saute onion, garlic, carrots and capsicum in a non stick pan to soften (5-8 mins)
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients in (except baby spinach) and stir to mix in well
  3. Reduce heat to low-medium and let it simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve onto a bed of baby spinach leaves
  5. Sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on top if you desire.

You should probably know that I add nutrition yeast on everything! So if you aren’t a junkie to it like me please feel free to leave it out.

I hope you all love this recipe as much as I do!

Do you have a secret ingredient for your chilli recipe?

Lisa

5 Comments

Filed under Mains, Recipes

Ironing Out Inhibitors

Iron is such an important mineral that needs to be a priority in everyone’s diet regardless of what diet or lifestyle you follow. If you have a deficiency (anemia) in iron then you can count on feeling fatigue, mental decline, paleness and a decrease in your immunity, which can lead to many more health problems.

Iron can be toxic and even deadly if you overdose so I can’t stress enough how important it is not to self medicate and buy iron supplements. Always consult a doctor first.

My last post was about the assumptions that go with the word “vegan” and being anemic is just one of them.
When I was in High school I suffered from anemia and this is when I ate animal based products.
Now that I am well educated on iron and how your body absorbs it, I have perfect iron levels and have been known to show anyone my blood test results who is willing to let me brag over them.

There are two types of iron: heme Iron (found in animal foods) and nonheme Iron (found in plant-based foods).

Heme iron is better absorbed by the body than nonheme iron sources but that doesn’t mean just because you don’t include animal based foods in your diet that you are doomed to be anaemic. If you are aware and create a dish that includes foods that help the absorption of iron whilst removing the foods that inhibit iron absorption, you can easily get the same amount of iron or if not more than a dish that is rich in heme iron.

Vitamin C is iron’s best friend; including foods that are rich in vitamin C will ensure better iron absorption. This can be as simple as squeezing the juice of a fresh lemon over your meal, adding some red capsicum to your salad or my favourite: sprinkling goji berries onto your wholegrain breakfast.

Calcium and caffeine are irons enemies, so your morning coffee or tea isn’t doing you any favours to your iron-rich wholegrain toast. Sorry.

Now being a former caffeine addict I completely understand that it would seem impossible to give up your morning coffee so the good news is that you don’t have to!
Just make sure you have your coffee at least 2 hours before or after a meal to ensure it doesn’t affect your iron absorption.

Wholegrains, beans, lentils, nuts, soy* and certain vegetables are all sources of iron.

There is a reason why you should always soak your grains, beans and nuts before cooking and eating them and that’s because these wholesome foods contain phytic acid (phytates).

Phytic acid doesn’t just reduce the absorption of iron but it reduces the absorption other minerals as well, such as calcium, zinc, and magnesium.

I used to roll my eyes and say “it can’t make that much of a difference”, but it makes a huge difference (50%-100%) and it does matter, so get in the habit of soaking because it will benefit you greatly.

Soaking your grains, nuts and beans should be in water that is at a warm room temperature for 12-18 hours for the best results in removing phytic acid. I start soaking before I go to bed and by the next evening they are ready to use for dinner. Soaking also helps reduce cooking time which is perfect because I have no patience time to wait around.

Soy is extremely high in phytic acid so although you marvel over the nutrition index of the beneficial minerals, be aware that this is doing very little because the phytic acid binds to the minerals to keep you from digesting them.
Once again that doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your favourite tofu dishes but just be mindful and try to limit your intake.

So if you ensure that you soak your grains, beans, lentils and nuts add vitamin C and remove calcium and caffeine from an iron rich meal you will be well on your way to getting that perfect blood test.

What is your favourite iron rich meal?

Lisa

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A Vegan’s Reputation

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When I changed to a vegan lifestyle I wasn’t confident telling people about my decision. In fact, I dreaded the thought of having to explain to someone that I’m vegan because of the assumptions that went with the word “vegan”.

Now I can’t be more comfortable telling others and given the opportunity I love to explain to people why I choose to live this way!
I’ve taken a great interest in seeing their facial expressions change when having to explain why I’m the only one not tucking into the cheese platter on the table.

A surprisingly large number of people seem offended, even outraged that I have chosen this lifestyle and try to convince me that I have been brain washed by some type of cult.

Most people look utterly confused, which explains why someone asked me why I still take an interest in men if I just said I was vegan. And very few welcome the idea and accept it’s a lifestyle that serves and benefits me as well as the environment.

There are so many bizarre assumptions towards veganism that give the word a bad rep. It disappoints me to think that this is one of the reasons why I didn’t go vegan earlier and that there are many people who are discouraged and decide to turn down veganism because of social pressure from these untrue claims.

I asked a number of people who follow a vegan lifestyle to share with me their experiences when telling people that they’re vegan. Although I’m not surprised, it still appalled me when I was told great friendships had been lost when they decided to change to a cruelty free lifestyle. The reaction of others being utterly offended by a vegan lifestyle is definitely not uncommon.

While I’ve had many crazy assumptions thrown at me, the most common one seems to be the thought that a vegans’ purpose and duty is to try and convince others to follow this lifestyle; this can be done by talking to strangers and even door knocking.

This could not be further from the truth. I don’t doubt that there are people actively promoting and bringing awareness to veganism but with my experience I have never met a vegan that pressures others to “convert”. The majority of the vegan community I have met have been the most welcoming and accepting people I have spoken to.

I can’t help but wondering why omnivores aren’t given the same assumptions and reputation of trying to convert others to follow their choice in lifestyle? Although they don’t door knock I have certainly been ambushed by a table of opinions on many occasions.

Through all of these assumptions and misled claims I have learnt not take them personally or be hurt by what others say about my lifestyle because veganism feels authentic to me and this is what my journey is all about; finding my authentic self.

I don’t need to argue or keep explaining why I believe my choices are valid because regardless of who’s right and whose wrong I feel connected and at peace with myself which says more than any amount of words.

Veganism is not a “dirty” word; it is an honorable and courageous word that brings connection between you and the world we all live in.

This is a decision I have made for myself, I don’t mind if others aren’t going to follow my choice of lifestyle and I certainly won’t force anyone to “convert”; though I do love to educate others and show them how delicious a raw vegan lifestyle can be!

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Yesterday I made these little beauties for my omnivore friends and family who respect and accept my lifestyle.

This recipe is from Chocolate Covered Katie and I managed to quickly take a photo of mine while the rest were being eaten.

Now if these Oreo’s don’t clear up the thought of a boring diet of cold tofu and sprouts I don’t know what will because these are nothing less than amazing!

I did find them quite rich so I recommend using a little less cacao if you are not a hard core cacao junkie.

As always I would love to know your thoughts and your experiences when telling people about your lifestyle.

Lisa

9 Comments

Filed under Social Pressure

Sweet & Salty Tempeh Salad

I have been making this salad on a regular basis for months now and I still can’t seem to get enough.

I mentioned in a previous post that I love to add colour to all of my meals to ensure I get a whole range of nutrients and variety out of each meal and this dish packs both!

One of the many things I love about this salad is that it is packed with raw veggies but it also brings a warm winter comfort to the dish by adding the tempeh and baked pumpkin.

This salad covers a crowd pleasing flavour combination; sweet + salty.

You get the sweetness from the fresh sweet corn & pumpkin with the saltiness of the tempeh.

I use Kent Pumpkin as it is sweet and keeps moist when baking so no oil is necessary.
Kent pumpkin is also known as a Jap pumpkin, it has ribbed green-yellow mottled skin.

It would be desirable for all of your ingredients are organic but I understand this is not always an option so please thoroughly wash vegetables beforehand.

Ingredients

100 grams Organic Tempeh

¾ Cup chopped Kent Pumpkin

Handful of baby spinach

¼ Cup zucchini

¼ Cup red capsicum

¼ Cup of raw sweet corn

¼ Avocado

1 T Nutritional Yeast (optional)

½ tsp Tamari Sauce

½ tsp Balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Cut pumpkin into small rectangular pieces, 3mm width. Bake until soft (20-30 mins)
  3. Slice tempeh 3mm thick and place in bowl
  4. Mix ½ tsp tamari sauce + ½ tsp balsamic vinegar together and coat the sliced tempeh.
  5.  Chop vegetables (minus the avocado) and place the baby spinach and vegetables onto a plate
  6. Once the pumpkin is cooked, using a non stick fry pan cook tempeh until lightly browned on both sides.
  7. Place baked pumpkin and tempeh onto the salad with avocado on top.

*Call me obsessed biased but nutritional yeast on top is a nice touch to the dish.

I’m sure you will love this dish as much as me. It’s quick, simple and full of flavour.

When I was first introduced to tempeh I wasn’t 100% sold but like the majority of the foods I eat now I have grown to love tempeh and can’t understand how I never loved it from the start.

How were you introduced to tempeh, and did you love it straight away?

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