Tag Archives: clean

Challenge for August: No Processed Sugars! (and Raw Carrot Cake Recipe)

Hey everyone! Happy Friday to all!

I know I’ve been M.I.A. and have been neglecting you (I’m so sorry!) but rest assured I have been keeping healthy, staying dry (I completed the Dry July charity challenge and raised over $500 for cancer research) and busy dreaming up all sorts of new ideas to post about.

Dry July

Staying booze-free wasn’t too hard at all. The most challenging times were the first few Friday afternoons (I love an after-work red to kick off the weekend), a friend’s 30th (but I got over it after the first hour) and another friend’s birthday dinner (and I soon got over that after the food arrived – oink). I did however, find myself eating a lot more sweets and treats, justifying to myself that since I wasn’t drinking, I was consuming fewer calories anyway, or they were at least cancelling each other out.

BUT as we all know, it’s not (all) about the calories right?  I was consuming more processed sugar than before and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you don’t need me to tell you that nasty processed sugar is addictive and detrimental to your health! Yuck!

There are many opinions out there about sugar – processed and naturally occurring – and how much one should consume. I don’t purport to be an expert on it so I won’t preach here, but I will share with you what works for me, and how I want to eat.

Challenge for August

Now bringing it back to where I started off.. Taking on the Dry July challenge was fantastic – it gave me a goal to work towards and achieving it was very rewarding. I felt positive in body and mind. So I thought, why not take on another challenge in August: No processed sugars?!

Let me be clear: This isn’t a license for me to go and eat barrels of fruit a day and ladle honey over my morning muesli like it’s going out of fashion – a balanced diet is still important – it is an attempt to minimise the amount of processed sugars consumed. Sugar is in so many unsuspecting food items (like Ketchup and many of the Asian sauces we cook with plus so much more!) I can’t possibly cut them all out, but I can at least try to make “sugar swaps” – using healthier natural alternatives where possible – and cut out those blocks of Cadbury after dinner each night, and that 3pm cupcake at work, “you know, because it’s Tuesday”.

I’ll be experimenting with some different sugar alternatives, and working on some other greener meals and snacks, so stay tuned!

Raw Carrot Cake*

Depending on which way you look at it, this could be the perfect (or counter-intuitive) way to bring on my August challenge: a raw carrot cake using only natural ingredients and no added processed sugars (only honey and fruit are used as sweeteners). Just remember that cake is meant to be a treat, so enjoy in moderation.

raw carrot cake

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups walnuts
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup organic rolled oats – I used my morning raw muesli mix already stocked in the pantry (my cake batter was scattered with almonds, pepitas, sultanas and coconut – yum!) 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan rock salt – I love a touch of saltiness in my sweet!
  • 12 large fresh dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup dried chopped apricots or pineapple – I used a combination of both
  • 2 large raw carrots, grated
  • 1 orange
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste – which I didn’t have so I used 2 tsp natural vanilla essence
  • 2 tbs raw protein powder

Method

  1. Combine walnuts, chia, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, protein powder, orange zest and salt into a food processor and processed until mixed and finely chopped.
  2. Add dates and apricots then process again until mixed through.
  3. Add grated carrot and vanilla and then process again until combined. The mix should now form a lovely dough.
  4. Tip into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add oats and kneed through the mixture.
  6. Press cake firmly into a 15-20cm baking tin that is lined with baking paper.
  7. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Leave at least 2 hours to allow the carrot cake to rest.
  8. Lick fingers and bowl.
  9. Enjoy as is or with your choice of frosting.

Frosting Ideas

  1. Greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
  2. For a raw cashew or macadamia nut cream, combine 1 cup raw nuts with 1/2 cup orange juice or coconut water and a little vanilla. Blend in Vitamix until smooth and creamy
  3. For a cream cheese style frosting, combine 250g soft cream cheese with a little lemon zest, juice, vanilla and maple syrup and honey, and beat until combined and creamy. You can use quark or Neutachafel (try Flannery’s, I think Barambah organics makes a quark) or a naughty but easily-accessible option is Philadelphia cream cheese (not raw or sugar free!!).

This cake is rather dense, and will cut up into about 16 slices. I ate 3 in the first day – oops! Enjoy xx

*Recipe credit to Teresa Cutter, The Health Chef: http://www.thehealthychef.com/2013/07/raw-carrot-cake/
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Thai Chicken Burgers with Korean Slaw

Image 1It’s the first weekend of Dry July, so in an effort to keep busy and eat clean, I decided to make a healthy dinner (as opposed to lazily getting takeout as I am often guilty of on a Friday night, bottle of wine in tow).

This recipe is from the “detox” menu plan in Gwyneth Paltrow’s “It’s All Good” cookbook. By the way, I’ve tried a few of her recipes now and I must say, I am digging them! I had mine bun-free as I had already indulged in pizza, chips and cake today (oops) but you can have them on a gluten-free bun. These burgers were, as my friend Lauren would say, absolutely deeelish!

Thai Chicken Burgers

Serves 4

  • 500g minced chicken breast
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely minced
  • 2/3 cups coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped – I used spring onions
  • 1 tsp very finely minced red chilli – I used 2 small hot chillies
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs neutral oil (like canola, grapeseed or safflower oil)

Thoroughly mix the chicken with the garlic, coriander, shallots, red chilli, fish sauce, salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 4 burgers (I made 8 smaller ones).

Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Rub each burger on both side with a bit of the oil and grill for about 8 minutes on the first side and another 5 minutes on the second, or until nicely marked and firm to the touch.

Korean Slaw

Makes 2 cups

  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil – Next time I would use only 1tbs, it was a tad oily for my liking
  • 2 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded cos lettuce
  • 3 tbs finely diced red red onion
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced – I used spring onion
  • 3 tbs roughly chopped coriander
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and fish sauce in a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and allow the slaw to sit for at least 10 minutes and as long as 6 hours before serving.

Easy as!

I hope you enjoy the burgers as much as I did, and that you have a happy and healthy weekend! Rest relax rejuvenate xx

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Dry July

Clear Your Head, Make a Difference

Back in April my boyfriend and I had 6 weeks off the booze, in an attempt to be healthier and to save some money. It really wasn’t that hard especially since we were doing it together. We felt energised and positive! So when I heard of “Dry July” – a charity that raises funds to help adults living with cancer – I thought, why not participate? It’ll give me an opportunity to have another month off and re-focus, and more importantly, it’s a good deed!

A colleague of ours is currently going through the heartache of helping her loved one fight cancer, so we have set up a workplace team to show our support. If you wish to donate, you can do so by visiting http://au.dryjuly.com/team/chesswealthpartners.*

Eating Clean

A month without alcohol is also a good motivator to eat clean. I must admit that lately I have been indulging a little more than I should be in sweets and processed foods (white flours and sugars.. I’ve been naughty!) so this is a good time for me to reset. I’ll be making an effort to have a juice or smoothie everyday and to eat clean.

I kicked off the morning this Energising Green Juice.

Photo of Energising Green Juice

Energising Green Juice

Ingredients

  • 1 green apple
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 stick celery
  • 4 leaves kale
  • 2 sprigs mint
  • 1 lemon, peel removed
  • 2cm-piece ginger

Method

Put all ingredients through a juicer. Simple!

You can use any combination veggies and fruits you like. There are no rules.**

Stay tuned for more clean recipes throughout my Dry July!

*If you want to sign-up for Dry July yourself, visit https://au.dryjuly.com/sign-up/. My individual profile is http://au.dryjuly.com/profile/fionawhite.

**Remember to eat the colours of the rainbow – mostly veggies. Fruits are still high in sugar so have these in moderation. More green veggies = higher alkalising effect = better for you! Happy juicing! x

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Protein Power Balls

IMG_2147I’m a huge fan of Teresa Cutter (aka “The Healthy Chef”) and her approach to food – she creates delicious functional foods for optimum health and wellbeing.

I have been meaning to give these protein balls a try forever but have never gotten around to it, so Friday night when my girlfriend came over for healthy fish and veggies (and wine – what? It’s the weekend, plus isn’t a glass of wine good for you?!), we gave them a whirl. They turned out absolutely dangerously delicious!! Let’s just say we couldn’t stop at one..

Ingredients

  • 330g raw whole almonds or walnuts – I didn’t have quite that many almonds so made up about 50g of the difference with pistachios
  • 60g protein powder – I use ezyprotein (vanilla) which is an Australian certified organic, sprouted, bio-fermented, raw, wholegrain brown rice protein powder
  • 16 fresh dates, pitted
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder – I used raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbs natural vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • desiccated coconut, goji berries, cocoa, nuts for rolling

Method

  • Throw almonds, cinnamon, protein powder and cocoa into a food processor and process until the mix looks crumbly – Vitamix won’t work, I found this out the hard way.. but you can blitz the nuts in a Vitamix, chop up the dates and moosh all ingredients together with your hands in a big bowl. Get dirrrrty!
  • Add dates and vanilla extract and process again until the mix starts to come together
  • Add a splash of water if you need to so that the mixture is soft and forms a soft ball
  • Form into 14 decent sized balls
  • Roll in coconut or other suggested coatings and store in the fridge (up for 4 weeks, if they last that long!)

Nutritional Info (per ball)

  • Protein 8.2g
  • Carbs 7.6g
  • Total fat 12g
  • Saturated fat 0.9g
  • Fibre 2.8g
  • Kilojoules 703
  • Calories 168
Picture of Protien Power Balls

After-dinner treat

Recipe from: The Healthy Chef http://www.thehealthychef.com/2011/09/protein-power-balls/

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How to Spring Clean your Makeup

Picture of organised makeupYes I know, it’s winter.. but recently I de-cluttered my wardrobe, and if you know me at all, you won’t be surprised when I tell you that I whipped myself up into a bit of a frenzy and started tackling other areas of my home. One of these was the bathroom.

Skincare

I emptied out all the cupboards and tossed all products that:

  1. Had been there for over 2 years. If you haven’t used it in the last 2 years, you’re not going to start now.
  2. Had a suspicious smell, colour or was growing something (read: petri dish – ick!)

Remember that your skin is your largest organ and it absorbs 60% of the products used topically! So if you wouldn’t eat the product, it’s safe to say you probably don’t want it on your skin.

Picture of messed up beauty products

Tip out all your makeup bags and drawers

Makeup

There are a few things to consider when assessing which of your cosmetics will make the cut, such as:

  1. Have you had an eye infection / pimple / cold sore?
  2. How has it been stored?
  3. What type product is it? (ie. liquid, powder, cream etc)
  4. How do you apply it? (ie. clean fingers and brushes? Be honest!!)

Here is a general guide on lifespans:*

Mascaras

3 months (4-6 max)

Eye Pencils

2 years – sharpen and clean regularly and PLEASE DON’T SHARE with others!

Eye Shadows

Liquids and creams for 1 year. Powder for 2.

Lipsticks and Lip Pencils

2 years

Powders and Blushes

Cream 1 year. Powder 2.

Foundations and Concealers

Oil-free foundations and liquid concealers, give them a year. Moisturising foundations and stick concealers, 1.5 years.

Cleaning Makeup Brushes

Clean brushes and applicators will help your makeup (and skin!!) stay clean, and your makeup will last longer also. Look after your makeup brushes by cleaning them regularly. It kills bacteria and keeps the bristles soft.

  1. Use a professional makeup cleaner, organic or baby shampoo, or mix 1 part vinegar with 2 parts warm water
  2. Wash the brushes in a small bowl, swirling them around to encourage thorough cleaning
  3. Rise the brushes under the tap
  4. Re-mould the brushes to their original shape
  5. Lay them flat to dry overnight

Try not to get the glued bit wet otherwise the bristles will fall out.

Picture of cleaning makeup brushes

Re-mould the bristles and lay flat to dry overnight

Staying Organised

I keep my makeup stored in one of these bad boys from Officeworks**. It’s easy to stay organised and see what you’ve got. Much better than rummaging through makeup purses and inadvertently forgetting to use that fabulous new Chanel lippy that’s fallen to the bottom of the bag. Plus it’s only $15! Cheap n chic.

Picture of organised makeupHappy organising!

*Most products have little symbols indicating how long they should be kept. Another good tip is to mark on the product when you opened it, then you’ll know exactly when it’s past it’s use-by date.

**http://www.officeworks.com.au/retail/products/Office-Supplies/Desk-Accessories/Desk-Organisers/Drawer-Tidy/SEDD113

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What We Need Is Less

Picture of hanging clothes

This is something that I try to remind myself whenever I want to buy something new. It doesn’t always work, but hey I’m trying.

Reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ you have can improve your life and happiness (I use inverted commas because stuff doesn’t necessarily refer only to material possessions but also toxic behaviours, thoughts or relationships). Quality over quantity. Downsizing doesn’t mean that you’ll be living less of a life, it means you’ll have your best and favourite things around you, and you’ll have more time to focus on other areas of your life such as relationships, friendships, health, spirituality, hobbies.. whatever it is that makes you happy.

Clutter also has a way of zapping your positive energy. It’s chaotic and can cause feelings of anxiety, frustration and guilt! I know personally I can’t get anything done unless I know things are ordered and clean. Call me neurotic or OCD, but I just prefer it when I’m not distracted by a messy environment.

In an effort to live more simply, I took on the task of streamlining my wardrobe (and even made over $400 selling items on the cheap at my friend’s garage sale!). And to think that this was from stuff that was just sitting around, taking up space. I deposited half my takings onto my credit card, and half towards buying something I really love. Compromise right?

De-cluttering and downsizing can be overwhelming, so here are some tips to help you get organised (I’ve written these specifically for your closet but the same general guidelines could apply to all areas of your home):

Cull

  1. Dump everything out onto your bedroom floor. All of it. Every sock, every shoe, everything.
  2. Go through each item and ask yourself: Do I use it? Do I like it? Do I need it? Answer “no” to all of these and chuck the item (by “chuck” I mean donate or sell). Be ruthless. Remember the aim of the game is to downsize and surround yourself with things you love and actually use.
  3. Get rid of anything that is falling apart and beyond resurrection, ill-fitting and not worth getting altered*, is unflattering or makes you feel miserable, or simply that you think it could have a better home.

Clean

  1. Clean your wardrobe. Give it a good wipe-down. Add some lavender oil to your cleaning water or place some scented sachets throughout for a fragrant touch.
  2. Get rid of all any wire hangers. I’m not going to tell you go out and buy a million new wooden hangers because that’s going to be a super expensive exercise, especially if you visit specialty storage shops. Plus if your wardrobe is small, wooden hangers can take up a lot of space. You can find very reasonably priced wooden hangers (for silks), metal-clip hangers (for pants and skirts) and slim plastic-coated hangers (for everything else) at discount variety stores. The key is to use sturdy hangers that won’t snag or pull of your clothing out of shape.
  3. If you need more space or storage, buy some plastic cartons (again I buy these at discount variety stores) or Space Bags.

Organise

  1. Divvy up your clothes into sections. I use “Work”, “Casual” and “Dressy”. I also have a “Coats & Jackets” section. Living on the Gold Coast means we rarely use these items so I keep them separate and to the side – out of the way of getting dressed everyday. Choose whatever works best for your lifestyle.
  2. Sort clothes into type and colour within their lifestyle groups.
  3. Put the items back into your wardrobe. I hang most items but it depends on your space. Fold chunky sweaters or heavy or embellished dresses. I have a chest of drawers where I keep the daggy home stuff, pyjamas, gym clothes, socks, swimmers, infrequently worn accessories etc.
  4. Display your handbags, accessories and hats so you don’t forget about them.
  5. My shoes are lined along the wall (some in boxes, some not – just depends whether I kept the boxes originally and how often I wear the shoes). They are kept under each of their corresponding clothing sections. That means boots under Coats & Jackets, heels under Work, flats and sneakers under Casual etc. You could take Polaroids and stick them to the boxes for easy viewing.
  6. Store jewellery in clear drawers (I buy mine from Officeworks, and are great for organising my makeup also).
Picture of clothes on a walk-in-rove floor

Cull & clean..

Picture of an organised walk-in wardrobe

Organise!

Once you’re done, you’ll be able to see so everything you own which will encourage you to use the items more and hopefully buy less. It’ll also be easier to stay organised.**

As you can see, I’ve got a lot there but I promise I am trying to buy only what I need and love, and taking care to look after my possessions. It’s a work-in-progress.

MORE LOVE, less stuff xx

*Take a trip to the cobbler and tailor if it’s worth it. Fixing something you already own is most likely cheaper than buying something new and also less wasteful.

**I came across a handy tip the other day: Once a year, turn all your hangers the wrong way around. When you wear the item, put it back the right way. After one year, whatever is facing the wrong way around can go straight to Vinnie’s. De-cluttering made easy!

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