Flexitarian Life

A girl having a Flexetarian meal in the park

You’re not alone if you’ve found yourself confused when reading all the different dietary labels on menus and in magazines – we hear you! From vegan all the way to flexitarian, we are here to break down some of the most common dietary labels.

Flexitarian

The Flexitarian Diet is the new kid on the block – and for a good reason! A flexitarian is someone who consumes a predominantly vegetarian diet; such as wholegrains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables, whilst consuming meat and other animal products sparingly and at their own leisure. The Flexitarian Diet is for those who don’t like to follow the rules, and eat intuitively. Think of The Flexitarian Diet as being the Vegetarians’ rule-breaking older cousin.

Flexetarian Salad

Vegetarian

The Vegetarian Diet encompasses plant-foods as the foundation, focusing on wholegrains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables, whilst allowing for the consumption of dairy products and dairy derivatives, such as cheese and eggs.

Vegetarians completely exclude meat, fish or poultry from their diets. Unlike the Flexitarians, Vegetarians never stray from their no-meat policy – you could say they’re the goody-two-shoes of the dietary family (much to the Flexitarians dismay).

Flexetarian Brunch Bowl

Vegan

A Vegan Diet consists of entirely plant-based foods; focusing on wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. Vegans explicitly eliminate the consumption of animals, inclusive of their meats and derivatives. Vegans have a strict rulebook they like to follow, but fear not, what Vegans lack in animal products, they make for in plants.

Whilst at first, introducing Vegan food kind of feels like you’re being forced to hang out with your weird-cousins-from-the-country you never liked, Vegan foods are quite diverse and are full of flavour (unlike said cousins), think cauliflower tacos, date caramel, and milks made from nuts! (Whaaat?!)

Flexetarian Mexican Wrap

Pescatarian

A Pescatarian Diet, similarly focuses on the inclusion of wholegrains, legumes, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and vegetables as the main component of the diet. The key point of difference is that Pescatarians consume seafood and fish as their exclusive source of animal protein, as well as dairy and eggs.

Pescatarians look to include fish, at a minimum of twice per week, whilst ensuring their diet is well-rounded with a foundation of plant-based foods. The Pescatarian Diet is sort of like your sister who is going through an edgy-phase (albeit, she’ll tell everyone ‘it’s not a phase!’) They have their own thing going on by exclusively eating fish as their source of animal protein, but still rely on the safety net of consuming plant-foods like everyone else.

Flexetarian Poke Bowl

The common thread that marries these diets together, is the emphasis of utilising plant-based foods for the basis of each diet. So, what’s all the fuss with plants?

Other than containing an abundance of vitamins and minerals, plant foods contain Dietary Fibre. The consumption of dietary fibre is associated with lower risks of heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, bowel cancer, and inflammation.

Not only is dietary fibre associated with an increase in positive health outcomes, consuming a high-fibre diet is also essential for optimal gut health, after all – fibre is the food for our good gut bacteria! Ensuring we are providing our gut bacteria with a diverse range of plant foods is associated with a healthy digestive system and reduced inflammation.

So no matter which family member you identify with, the most important takeaway is to eat more plants!

Whether you decide to dabble with a Pescatarian Diet or head straight for the Flexitarian Lifestyle, introducing more plants into your diet will provide you with a wealth of health benefits, and hey, who knows, maybe you and those weird-cousins-from-the-country have a lot more in common than you originally thought.

Breakfast Boosters

Poached egg with veggies and bacon

It’s the morning meal that ‘breaks a fast’. Enjoying a nutritious breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, energises your morning and fuels your body with a healthy dose of nutrients.

Busy mornings and tight schedules can result in some of us skipping breakfast entirely or opting for something unhealthy instead, leaving us fighting against a grumbling stomach, crashing energy levels and even mood swings!

Make the most of your morning meal by following these tips. You’ll be amazed at the difference!

 

Add A Little Healthy Fat

Healthy fats from whole foods provide essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds, plus they help you to feel satisfied for longer as they’re slow to digest in the body.

Options: Nut butters, tahini, mixed nuts and seeds, avocado or coconut butter. Slices of avocado, sautéed greens and mushrooms in olive or coconut oil are great for hot breakfasts.

 

Eat Enough Protein

You can enjoy a delicious breakfast low in protein, but there’s a high chance you’ll be hungry shortly after! Protein is similar to fat, as it’s also a slow release energy source making it a powerful appetite suppressant!
Options: Sprinkle some extra nuts and seeds in your cereal, or top your smoothie with a nutty granola. Add nut butters, spirulina, goji berries, hemp seeds, or a vegan protein powder to your smoothie to bump up the protein power!

 

Fill Up On Fibre

Gut health and weight maintenance is essential for overall health. Having a mix of soluble and insoluble fibre in your diet helps your bowels to function properly, feeds your healthy gut bacteria and supports natural detoxification.

What to add: Add plenty of greens and berries to your smoothie. Avocado is also a good source of fibre, and will make your smoothie extra creamy!

Foods That Can Boost Your Mood

Group of happy friends with healthy food

If you’ve been feeling a bit blue and looking to regain that pep in your step, then it may be worthwhile paying a visit to your local grocery store. Foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids not only work wonders to improve your physical well being, they also have the potential to increase happiness and lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety.

 

But How Is It That Foods Can Improve Our Moods?

The answer is by promoting a healthy brain and stimulating cognitive function.

 

Certain nutrients have a profound impact on maintaining normal brain function, keeping us happy and healthy. Thanks to science, researchers have actually been able to pinpoint nine nutrients that can boost our mood and combat depression: calcium, folate, chromium, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and zinc.

 

Eating foods high in these nutrients on a regular basis will not only promote feelings of happiness in the short-term, they can also enhance mood in the long term, providing a permanent pick-me-up. 

 

Sardines may not immediately strike you as a happy food, but these little guys are sky high in mood boosting omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B12, and loaded with minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They can also make your wallet happy because they’re an inexpensive meal to bring to the table. They have less mercury than tuna!

 

But What If You’re Not A Sardine Fan?

Swap out your oil for flaxseed, chia, or extra virgin olive oil, which are also high in Omega 3 and will give you similar benefits.

 

To boost your beauty naturally and improve your mood, serve up this dish immediately.

 

Smashed Sardines With Avocado On Your Favourite Bread

INGREDIENTS

Serves 1

  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 tbsp freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp chopped red chilli (optional)
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 slices gluten-free bread
  • Small handful of rocket (arugula) leaves
  • 120 g tinned sardines, smashed
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

 

METHOD

Place the avocado, lime, chilli, salt and pepper in a bowl and mash together with a fork.
Toast one or two slices of your favourite toasted bread.

 

Spread the avocado mixture over the bread and top with rocket and smashed sardines.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.

 

Enjoy!

5 Simple Ways To Reduce Anxiety

A mans feet resting by the ocean

Has anyone ever told you to “stay calm” or “just breathe” when feelings of anxiety creep up on you?

That chest tightness, sweaty palms, and racing heartbeat can seem impossible to just breathe through, but there’s certainly hope!

Try these 5 simple ways proven to reduce anxiety and keep it at bay.

  1. Be Okay With Being Anxious

Self-acceptance that you’re going through a natural reaction will help you cope. Once you’re at peace with how your body is reacting, it’s much easier to think logically about the situation and focus not on how you’re feeling, but ways you can work through it.

  1. Pay Attention To Your Thoughts And Question Them

When we’re anxious, we tend to catastrophize events or potential outcomes and our thoughts send us into internal chaos. Instead, listen to what your brain is telling you, and take a moment to ask yourself “if the worst possible outcome was to happen, would it be the end of the world?” or “Will I even care about this 1 year from now?”. Taking the time to think rationally when you’re feeling this way, can help to switch your body back into a calmer state.

  1. Sneak In A Quick Meditation Or Visualization

Podcasts, YouTube, or audiotapes – find a short meditation or visualisation series that you can play in your car, while you’re walking, or sitting waiting. Pop your headphones in and let your mind wander deep into a soothing meditation that will help to calm your nerves. If meditation isn’t your thing, listen to some relaxing music instead and try and match your breathing to the steady pace of the song.

  1. Bring The Focus Back To Right Now

A lot of the time, we worry about what the future holds and what might happen. Instead, focus on what’s happening in the present. Where are you right now? What does the temperature feel like? What are you wearing? What colours are around you? What are other people doing near you? What is your breathing doing? Can you focus simply on your breath? Not trying to control it, but just focusing on what it is doing.

Studies show simply being mindful of the present can reduce signs and symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. If you struggle to do this on your own, have someone else prompt you with questions, or listen to a guided meditation.

  1. Get Moving, Regularly

A regular exercise program not only lets you get some fresh air, it’s a great stress and anxiety reliever! Part of the natural anxiety response is the release of adrenalin. This increases your heart rate and gets you ready to “fight or flight”.

If you’re sitting down and feel overwhelmed, go for a walk to get some fresh air. If you’re anxious from the day, finish off your work day with a run, a boxing session or another fun activity that naturally burns the excess energy and helps to use up the adrenalin released in a positive way. Not only will you feel calmer, but also your mood will be boosted thanks to the increase in endorphins!

5 Vegetables You Can Grow From Scraps!

Seedlings growing out of potting mix

Did you know that many of the stalks, beans, roots and seeds that end up in the trash could actually be the beginning of your future meals? If you do the grocery shopping for your family you will know that buying food isn’t cheap. With only a few easy-to-follow steps you can grow your own food from your kitchen bench. If you’re ready to take your commitment to locally grown food to the next level then keep reading.

Celery

Celery has got to be one of the easiest foods to grow from leftover scraps. Simply follow the steps below.

  1. Cut the base off your celery and place it into a bowl with a little warm water in the bottom.
  2. Place the bowl in direct sunlight for as long as possible every day.
  3. After 1 or 2 weeks you will see the leaves begin to thicken and new leaves begin to grow.
  4. Once leaves thicken and new leaf growth can be seen, transplant your celery in soil and wait for it to grow.

 

Coriander

Coriander can regrow roots and grow new plants once replanted. Follow the steps below to grow your own bunch of coriander.

  1. Trim back the leaves from the bottom of the stems and place into a bowl of water.
  2. Place the jar into a sunny area and change the water every other day.
  3. Once the stems have sprouted plenty of new roots, plant in a pot with good quality soil.
  4. In a few months you will have a fully-grown plant.
  5. Remember to water regularly.

 

Ginger

Ginger is a great addition to soups and stir-fries but it can also be expensive. Here are some tips to help you grow your own ginger from scraps.

  1. Cut off a 2 to 3 inch section of ginger from an existing piece you have at home.
  2. Place in potting soil with the smallest buds facing down buried into the soil.
  3. Place the pot in indirect sunlight until ginger begins to grow new shoots and roots.
  4. Next, pull up the entire plant including the new roots.
  5. Remove a piece of the new ginger rhizome and repeat again.

 

Beans Sprouts

Bean sprouts are the perfect snack or addition to a salad. Check out the steps below to see how to grow your own bean sprouts.

  1. In a container, soak 1 to 2 tablespoons of the beans you wish to sprout (mung beans work best).
  2. Cover with shallow water and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. In the morning, drain off the water and put the beans back into the container.
  4. Cover the container with a towel overnight and rinse the following morning.
  5. Continue this process until you notice the beans beginning to sprout.

 

Pumpkins

Pumpkins are filled with seeds that we always dispose of without thinking. Here are the steps you need to grow pumpkins from your own backyard.

  1. Next time you cut open a pumpkin, save a few fresh seeds for planting
  2. Spread the seeds out in a sunny area and cover with soil
  3. Keep the soil moist and water only when needed
  4. The seeds will begin to sprout in only a couple of days

 

Want To Live “Greener”? Try These Easy Steps!

Man working in a veggie garden

Going green doesn’t have to be difficult. We make choices daily that affect our footprint on the Earth. Try these simple ways to begin living a greener life!

 

Shop Locally

Pack your reusable bags and spend a morning at the farmer’s markets. You’ll be able to find most of what you need, and save yourself some money, support the locals and by-pass food laden in packages that have travelled miles to make it to your house. You’ll begin to become more efficient at shopping in a more environmentally friendly way while getting a nice dose of sunshine!

 

Gift Plants Over Flowers 

Instead of brightening someone’s day with flowers, why not brighten it with a plant! Not only will it help to purify the air in their home, but you’ll also stop contributing to deforestation, waste, food miles and reduce their pesticide exposure.

 

Follow The Zero-Waste Rule  

Its no surprise that food waste is such a problem, nearly 40% of food in the eventually ends up in a landfill. Challenge yourself and your family to create ‘Zero-Waste’ meals. Those overripe bananas, broccoli stems, and sad tomatoes all still have a use!

 

Become A Minimalist 

Less is more. Detox your closest, clean up your laundry & reduce your spend.
If something no longer serves you, donate it and let it serve someone else! Green up your laundry routine by switching to natural cleaning products and skip the dryer to opt for drying naturally. Finally, stop spending for the sake of spending. 96% of people’s spending habits are linked to emotional reasons.

 

Drive Less, Move More 

How much we rely on transportation has contributed to our ever-growing health problems in today’s society! Dust off your bike takes an old-fashioned walk and make a goal to utilise public transport more than you use your car.

 

4 Essential Oils For Your Household

Purple flowers on a lavender plant

From oral health, to cleaning products and even the common flu, essential oils have a wide range of uses. Rid your home of chemical-laden household products with these 4 essential oils.

 

  1. Lavender

The great relaxer, lavender oil is used to help aid peaceful sleep and is great for headaches. Lavender is also very helpful for skin rashes and is an effective disinfectant for burns and cuts. You can add lavender and 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to your washing for a fresh scent too!

 

  1. Clove

Clove has been used for centuries to help alleviate pain associated with dental cavities. An affordable remedy for toothache, clove contains eugenol. Eugenol is a strong antiseptic and anaesthetic to reduce pain and kill germs.

Clove is also useful as a mould remover. Add 10 drops to 100 ml of water, spray directly onto mould, and leave for at least one hour before wiping off. Voila!

 

  1. Lemon

Lemon oil can be used as a natural cleaning agent in your home, as well as being added to coconut oil and used as a chemical-free toothpaste replacement.

To make a spray for cleaning windows, kitchen benches and bathrooms, add 10 drops to 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. You can also add lemon to your washing along with 1 teaspoon of baking soda to make an affordable washing powder.

 

  1. Peppermint

A soothing smell that has an instant calming effect on the mind. Peppermint is great for giving a fresh smell to your cleaning.  It can also be used in cooking for a great taste. Just like lemon, peppermint oil can also be added to coconut oil for oil pulling – resulting in a wonderfully fresh finish too.

Peppermint also makes a great natural tummy soother, as it’s high in menthol, calming stomach aches, nausea, and irritable bowel syndrome.

 

  1. Frankincense

This centuries-old essential oil has a well-known influence on the limbic system of the brain, thus supporting the nervous system.  Added to a vaporiser, frankincense is great as a natural relaxer and helps to reduce anxiety and stress. Frankincense is also a natural pain reliever and can be added to a bath.  Soaking in the tub for a while helps to maximise absorption.

Healthy Hacks

Woman walking down steps to the beach

This article was written by Stacey McBride-Wilson from The Healthy Happy Soul.

 

HEALTHY HACKS

 

1. RECIPE/SNACK – ‘Not quite apple crumble’

Ingredients:

  • 1 X Apple (I like to use Pink Lady apples!)
  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • Cinnamon

Method:

  1. Cut apple into quarters
  2. Lather generously with peanut butter
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon
  4. Enjoy!

 

This snack is quick, easy, wholesome, nourishing and tasty! Apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, and dietary fibre plus may help reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Cinnamon is another power packed ingredient boasting such benefits as anti-inflammatory properties, protects heart health and fights infections and viruses. And Peanut Butter, what’s not to love about that?! Once you try it I guarantee it’ll become an afternoon favourite to curve those 3pm sugar cravings. Enjoy!

 

2. REMEMBER YOU CAN DO ANYTHING, BUT NOT EVERYTHING!

YOU are amazing, so you can do anything. But if we try to be everything to everyone, we end up being nothing to no one. There is power in doing a few things well. So what will you unload off your plate, and what few things will you do well today? Trust me, less really is more.

 

3. MAKE TIME FOR FUN
Thought for today: What’s life without a little fun and adventure? Remember fun is absolutely key for health and happiness. Things don’t always need to be so serious! How will you factor in a little fun and adventure today? Trust me you’ll be glad you made room for fun!
*I’ve tied this in with the #mondaypunday meme ‘An adventure? Alpaca my bags!’ And it’s an alpaca with a helmet. Always love a Monday Pun!!
4. GET OUTSIDE IN THE SUNSHINE

Did you know that small doses of regular exposure to glorious sunshiney rays without sunscreen is essential for your health? Vitamin D, the ‘sunshine’ vitamin is produced by your skin in response to exposure to sunlight. In short, vitamin D:
• increases immunity
• reduces depression
• fights disease
• boosts weight loss
BOOM! What a great excuse to get outside into the sunshine? It’s a glorious day here today and I’m about to get outside and soak up just a little sunshiney goodness for myself, I encourage you to do the same!!

 

P.s. Let me stress that I’m not talking about the get outside and baking your skin kind, that kinda stuff does mega damage! Just 10-15mins will give you the dose you need. If you are planning on being out longer, choose a good quality non-toxic sunscreen to keep your skin safe (I like the one by @ecotan!). 

 

5. THE PERFECT POACHED EGG

All LOVE all the fluro yellow runny goodness from perfectly poached eggs. Do you love poached eggs but got poaching problems? See below for my simple tips for creating the perfect poached egg.

PERFECT POACHED EGGS
Step 1. Fill a large shallow frying pan about 3/4 full of water.
Step 2. Heat water until boiling.
Step 3. Crack egg straight in slowly, take time to allow it to set slightly/not move around.
Step 4. Cook for 3-4mins until all uncooked clear white has changed to flat cooked white.
Step 5. Retrieve from pan and enjoy! |
*note* over the years I’ve tried many many times to achieve the perfect poached eggs without success. I’ve tried to swirl the water and add vinegar etc etc. with no joy. But this simple method works for me EVERY time! Good luck!

P.s. Did you know that the brighter and yellower the yolk of an egg is, the fresher the eggs and the healthier the chickens are? Go organic, go fresh and I promise you that you’ll see and taste the difference! 

 

6. MONDAYS MATTER

I absolutely LOVE Mondays, because it means a whole week of possibility, potential and opportunity is just waiting to be adventured into. PLUS, Monday mornings are the best chance to set the tone for our whole week ahead. Cause when we set the tone early, the rest of the stuff flows later…..
So how do you feel about Mondays? No really! Do you see Mondays as the worst day of the week, or one that totally rocks? Because what you perceive determines the experience you receive peeps (eg. If you think Mondays suck, guess what….Mondays will suck!)

So what one practical thing will you do TODAY to set the tone and set yourself up well for the week? Mondays matter!

 

7. EASY PEASEY FANCY FRENCH TOAST

Why go out for a fancy brunch when you can make it yourself? This beauty took me 5mins to whip together plus looks and tasted AMAZING!!! Recipe below

5min Easy Peasey Fancy French toast
INGREDIENTS
• Your choice of good quality bread (this is a heavy rye loaf)
• An egg
• Cinnamon

METHOD
1. Whisk egg and cinnamon together 
2. Dunk sliced bread in egg mix until fully coated
3. Cook in pan until golden each side
4. Serve with toppings of choice (I like plain yoghurt, blueberries, chopped hazelnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup)
5. ENJOY!

 

Food isn’t the enemy. Food is the tool to fuel all the good stuff you were created to do!

You can go to post here to steal the photo – it looks yummy!!!! https://www.instagram.com/p/BSZwYgEhJ0i/

 

8. THE BEST BLISS BALLS

What could be better than getting busy in the kitchen making up a humongous batch of bliss balls?! These bite sized sweet treats are the perfect thing to nail those mid afternoon sweet cravings. Recipe below…

INGREDIENTS
• 1 cup cashews
• 1 cup coconut
• 3/4 cup dates
• 2 Tbsp cacao
• 1 Tbsp chia seeds
• 1-2 Tbsp water to make gooey and soft
• Drizzle of honey or maple syrup to bind if needed
• Extra coconut to roll in

– *you could add protein powder of choice if you wanted to take these from bliss to protein packed snack!*

METHOD
1. Place cashews in food processor and blitz until creamy 
2. Add dates, coconut, chia seeds and cacao and blitz until combined.
3. Add water to make smooth and creamy (add honey/maple syrup if needed) and blitz
4. Roll into bite sized balls and coat in coconut
5. Enjoy!

I usually make a double batch of these babies which yields between 30-40 and pop in the freezer. They’ll keep up to a month in the freezer but they never seem to last that long in our household…. Enjoy!

 

9. ENJOY THE JOURNEY

Too often we can delay our enjoyment of life til we get to ‘there’ [holidays, retirement, when I lose X amount of weight etc. etc.] But life isn’t meant to be a destination, it’s a beautiful journey! The pursuit of perfection or getting to a certain destination is paralysing, BUT progress (no matter how small) along the way is a reason to celebrate – I know which one I’m choosing! Go for progress today and enjoy the journey each and every day!

 

10. LIVE LESS OUT OF HABIT AND MORE OUT OF INTENT

Living with intent takes more care, more energy and more focus yes, but you (and the world around you!) are so worth it! So today beautiful people, be international with your time, be intentional with your words, be intentional with your energy, be intentional with your thoughts, be intentional with your movement, be intentional with your finances, be intentional with your love, be intentional with your food, and most importantly be intentional with the peeps around you.

After all, this life ain’t no dress rehearsal! What one thing will you do with greater intention today?

How To Be A Savvier Food Shopper

Baskets of fresh produce at a market

How often do you walk into a Supermarket to pick up a few staples, only to leave 50 dollars poorer, feeling guilty for impulse buying those treats, and overstocked on items you didn’t really need?

You’re not alone… Supermarkets are masters of food marketing! Everything in your supermarket – from its floor plan to the color of signage- is engineered to keep you in store, and spending more.

And all too often, these clever tactics are geared towards making us buy food that is not so nutritious. So ultimately, our wallet and health suffers as a result!

One of the easiest ways to beat supermarkets at their own game is to shop more often at farmer’s markets, local stores and even better, grow your own food!

But, not all of us have access to the above. So sometimes we need to visit the supermarket. The next time you do, save yourself some money and stick to your health goals by knowing the top 7 traps, and our supermarket savvy tips to avoid them!

TRAP 1: The Format Formula

Food retailers know that most people need key staples in their regular grocery trip. Therefore, they cleverly place essential items along the perimeter of the store, so that you are forced into a lap of the entire supermarket. This forces you to bypass items that you don’t necessarily need but are impulsively compelled to pick up.

TRAP 2: Specials That Aren’t Quite So Special

Most people are hooked by signage reading ‘special’ or ‘sale’. After all, our money is hard-earned and we all love a bargain, right?

However, your actual savings may not be as wonderful as the flashy signs would lead you to believe. When you read the fine print, you may be saving a mere few cents on that purchase. Is this really a saving if it’s not an item you didn’t really need in the first place?

TRAP 3: Labelling Lies

Health claims aren’t always what they first seem. For example, products that read ‘light’ may not be actually light in fat or salt – food manufacturers can justify this claim by saying that the product is ‘light’ in color.

Whilst not every health claim you read is going to be false, don’t base your purchasing decisions purely on these statements. Take the time to study ingredients lists and use your own discernment. At the bottom line, many food manufacturers are more interested in your money than your health.

TRAP 4: Product Placement 

Food companies spend big bucks on ensuring that their products are displayed at deluxe viewing locations. This is usually around eye level height. However, just because a product catches your eye first doesn’t mean it’s the healthiest or cheapest option on the shelves.

Pump out a few supermarket squats and take the time to look high and low to compare products. Many smaller health food companies won’t have the budget to spend on prime shelf real estate. But with a little special effort on your part, you can still find these hidden gems.

TRAP 5: FoMO

Supermarkets tap into our FoMO (Fear Of Missing Out) with ‘limited time’ specials and offers that cap the quantity of items that we can buy. If you’re a price sensitive shopper, you may be more likely to be tempted to dip into a special to get your share… Only whilst stocks last!

TRAP 6: Impulse Buys

Let’s face it, grocery stores don’t display that gleaming, glittering row of confectionery at the check-out because they want you to be healthier. Retailers know that once you’ve done the bulk of your shopping, an extra goodie doesn’t seem like a big expense and you’re usually hungry and tired enough to be enticed into this offer.

TRAP 7: Suggestive Coupling

What goes with best with pasta? Well, the answer to that is usually sitting beside it on the shelf. Unless your answer was wine! 😉

Grocery stores cleverly pair items so that you are inspired to opt in and buy the extra ‘must-have’ that goes with it. At this point of purchase, it all seems convenient and logical. But how often are we buying something that we actually need in the cupboard at home?


Here are some tips to become a savvy shopper: 

SAVVY SHOPPER TIP 1: Perfect Your Plan

Shopping without a plan is virtually a recipe to break the budget and make hasty purchasing decisions. Alternatively, spend ten minutes before you shop to write a rough list of healthy meals that you would like to make that week. Then, simply jot down a brief list of the foods you need to make those meals.

Flesh out your list with extra items to supply breakfasts and snacks, plus other toiletries you need around the home. Lastly, give yourself three blank spaces to fill with spontaneous purchases once you start shopping. This will help you to feel less restricted but still counteract our natural human tendency to buy more than we intend to.

SAVVY SHOPPER TIP 2: Spare A Care For Your Cupboard

How often do you unpack your celery to find a wilted bunch already sitting sadly in the fridge? Our lives are busy and it’s virtually impossible to track exactly what we use in the kitchen as the week progresses.

Before you shop, sweep a brief glance through your cupboards and fridge. You don’t need to obsessively record everything you already have but this rough mental inventory will still help to prevent some double-ups.

SAVVY SHOPPER TIP 3: Be Your Own Banker 

Maybe you’re already great at writing shopping lists but struggle to follow through on the most important step… sticking to them!

If this sounds familiar, trial ‘being your own banker’ next time you shop. In advance, withdraw your grocery budget allowance in cash. Then, only take this amount into the grocery with you. Deprived of any other way to buy extra, your budget is bulletproof.

SAVVY SHOPPER TIP 4: If Possible, Leave The Little Ones At Home

Whilst we love them most dearly, shopping with children can be a little more stressful. We are more distracted and tend to rush in and out before any tantrums can erupt! Additionally, children commonly put extra pressure on parents to buy foods that wouldn’t be your first choice for their precious, growing bodies.

Although it may not always be possible, if you are able to shop without needing to supervise children, you will have more time and mental energy to think through your buying decisions. Alternatively, you could also trial shopping online in a peaceful space at home.

SAVVY SHOPPER TIP 5: CARRY YOUR CALCULATOR

Remember how we discussed that specials may not really offer the savings that the signs suggest? If the true saving isn’t displayed in the fine print, the best way to find out is to calculate the unit price yourself. And unless you’re a maths whizz, a calculator will go a long way to help!

A calculate can also help you compare unit value between comparable products that aren’t on special. Simply divide the cost of a product by the number of units (eg oz) that it contains. You will end up with a price per unit for each product that can determine what is truly cheaper!

SAVVY SHOPPER TIP 6: Downsize Your Cart

Ever noticed how supermarket trolleys seem to be getting bigger? This tactic is designed to deceive us into how much we are really piling in there.

Simply opt for the smaller available carts. You can also place other items (such as your sustainable non-plastic bags or handbag) in the bottom of the large trolleys to fill in the extra space.

SAVVY SHOPPER TIP 7: Avoid The Hungry Man’s Dilemma

Think back to the last time you felt hungry…. Chances are that your sense of smell was more acute, your thinking was hazier and unhealthy foods seemed somehow a little more virtuous.

Shopping on an empty stomach will encourage you to choose less healthy foods and hasten through your purchases… So you can get home and eat! If you haven’t had time to eat before shopping, try buying (and eating) a healthy snack before you go back in store for your full shop.

Thanks for reading savvy shoppers! What’s your hot tip for staying true to your health and budget in the supermarket? 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Clean Your Home With Essential Oils

 

Did you know that the average American home is filled with thousands of artificial chemicals? Only a small percentage of these chemicals have been thoroughly tested for safety! It’s crazy considering how often we’re exposed to these chemicals, and how little we know about their effects on our health and the environment.

Of those that have been studied, at least 150 common household chemicals have been associated with cancer, psychological disturbances, allergies, gastrointestinal disorders and various health issues. Shocking right?!

Cleaning agents contribute a substantial amount to the toxic chemical load in our home. Many top brand cleaners are filled with known toxins such as solvents, ammonia, formaldehyde, phthalates and ethanolamine.

With so many viable natural cleaning solutions now available, how could the potential (and known) risks of these toxins ever be worth a bleached-clean home?
Many essential oils mimic the results of chemical cleaners. They can dissolve grease, brighten stains, kill mold spores and fight bacteria… But without all the scary health dangers!

Check out these eco-friendly cleaning solutions that are natural, non-toxic, simple and actually work!

But please note, when working with essential oils on a new surface, always patch test first to check for suitability. Even though they come from Mother Nature, these oils are potent!

CLEANING PURPOSE: Mold & Mildew 

Recommended Essential Oils:

  • Clove (removes mold & mold spores)
  • Cinnamon
  • Pine (also kills yeast spores)
  • Tea tree

Suggested uses:

  • Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil with 2 cups of warm water. Spray and leave on shower surfaces to detract mold.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of clove oil with 1 cup of vinegar and 1 tablespoon glycerine. Spray over moldy areas and leave for 15 minutes before wiping away with a damp cloth.

 

CLEANING PURPOSE: Disinfectant

Recommended Essential Oils:

  • Tea Tree
  • Eucalyptus
  • Thyme oil

Suggested Uses:
Combine 2 cups hot water, ¼ cup washing soda and 10 drops of your choice of the above essential oils. Spray as needed and wipe away with a microfibre cloth.

CLEANING PURPOSE: Degreaser 

Recommended Essential Oils:

  • Lemon
  • Orange

Suggested Uses:
Combine ½ cup water, ½ cup vinegar, 1 tbsp castile and 10 drops of either above oils. Soak a sponge in this mixture and use light pressure to lift grease. Wipe away soapy residue with a warm damp cloth.

CLEANING PURPOSE: Floor Wash (not suitable for timber flooring) 

Recommended Essential Oils:

  • Tea Tree
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon (brightens and removes stains, eg white tiles)
  • Pine

Suggested Uses:
Use a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and hot water and add 15 drops of any above oils. Mop and enjoy the bright, streak-free and fresh finish!

CLEANING PURPOSE: Combs and Makeup Brushes

Recommended Essential Oils

  • Tea tree
  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus

Suggested Uses:
Combine ½ cup warm water, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 5 drops of any above oils in a jar. Soak brushes for 15 minutes then rinse thoroughly. Leave in the sun to dry out thoroughly.

CLEANING PURPOSE: Shower Scum & Grime Build Up

Recommended Essential Oils:

  • Lemon
  • Tea tree

Suggested Uses:

  • Wipe or spray your shower surfaces with a little water containing several drops of lemon oil. Done once or twice a month, this will help to prevent grime build up!
  • Buy an empty spray bottle and fill with vinegar and a couple of spoon of tea tree oil. Use as a daily antibacterial cleaning spray for your shower and bath.

 

CLEANING PURPOSE: Windows

Recommended Essential Oils

  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass

Suggested Uses:
Combine 1:1 hot water and vinegar and add 10 drops of either oils listed above. Wipe over windows and use a ‘squeegee’ to remove the liquid. Use old newspaper to polish glass to a streak-free shine afterwards!

CLEANING PURPOSE: Antibacterial Solution

Recommended Essential Oils:

  • Lemon (also antiviral)
  • Tea tree (also antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial)
  • Rosemary (also antiseptic)
  • Lavender
  • Cinnamon (also antibacterial)

Suggested Uses:
Soak dirty Tupperware in vinegar and a few drops of the above oils before rinsing through a hot cycle of the dishwasher.

CLEANING PURPOSE: Linen & Bedding 

Recommended Essential Oils:

  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus (also fights dust mites)

Suggested uses:

  • Add a few drops of eucalyptus or lavender oil when washing quilts, mattress covers and pillows.
  • Add a few drops of lavender oil to your linen spray for a beautiful, natural fresh scent on your clothing.

 

CLEANING PURPOSE: Stove & Cooktops

Recommended Essential Oils:

  • Orange

Suggested Uses:
Mix 10 drops of orange oil with ¼ cup castile soap to wipe down stove tops and counters. Wash clean with a little warm water.

CLEANING PURPOSE: Dishwash Liquid

Recommended Essential Oils:

  • Lime
  • Orange
  • Rosemary

Suggested Uses:

  • Combine 1 cup of liquid castile soap, 10 drops lime oil, 10 drops orange oil. (Optional: Add a few drops of glycerine to emulsify the oils into the mixture, otherwise simply shake before use.)
  • Got some REALLY greasy pots and pans to take care of? Try adding ½ cup vinegar and lemon juice to the above mixture.

 

CLEANING PURPOSE: Toxin-free Kitchen Wipes 

Recommended Essential Oils:

  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus
  • Orange
  • Lime
  • Tea Tree
  • Peppermint

Suggested Use:
Ditch the paper towel and toxic antibacterial wipes! Simply cut up some old white colored rags into hand-sized squares. Fill a large jar with 1 cup of water, 1 ounce castile soap, 1 ounce vinegar and 10 drops of any of the above oils. Soak the cloth squares inside and remove as needed to wipe away spills or wipe down bench tops. Simply wash and reuse the square cloths time and time again!

CLEANING PURPOSE: Sink Scrubber

Recommended Essential Oils:

  • Rosemary
  • Eucalyptus
  • Tea Tree
  • Lemon (particularly if greasy)
  • Orange (particularly if greasy)

Suggested Uses:

  • Combine ¼ cup of washing soda, ¼ cup baking soda and 10 drops of any of the above essential oils. Smear over sink surface and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing away with 1 cup vinegar and hot water.
  • Combine 1 cup baking soda, ½ cup pure castile soap and 5 drops of the above oils in a small bowl. Mix well and scoop the mixture onto a sponge to give your sink a good scrub over. Wash well with warm water.

 

CLEANING PURPOSE: Toilet Gel

Recommended Essential Oils:

  • Tea Tree
  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint

Suggested Uses:

  • Make your own bottle of non-toxic toilet cleaner by combining 2 cups water, ¼ cup castile soap, 1 tablespoon tea tree oil and 10 drops of eucalyptus or peppermint oil. Spread mixture over surface of inner toilet bowl and soak for 20 minutes. Lightly scrub with a toilet brush before flushing away the muck and leaving sparkly clean results!
  • Pour 1 cup baking soda and a few drops of the above essential oils into the toilet. Pour over 2 cups of vinegar. After the fizzing settles down, scrub the toilet bowl over with a toilet brush and flush several times.

Ready to make your own DIY home cleaners? Stock up on the essential oils listed above, PLUS these simple ingredients: 

  • Bicarb soda
  • Salt (scrub)
  • Vinegar
  • Washing soda (also called sodium bicarbonate or soda ash)
  • Liquid castille soap
  • Glycerine (emulsifier)

Add a little of the relevant essential oil to any of the above for a quick, easy, effective and natural DIY cleaning kit!

The potential uses for essential oils in natural cleaning is only limited by our imagination. What’s your favorite way to clean with essential oils?

 

These Foods Can Actually Make You Hungrier!

Ring-shaped, fruit flavoured sugary cereal

Do you ever have those days when your stomach feels like a bottomless pit? The next meal feels like an eternity away and you’ve got a serious case of the “Hangries”.

It’s natural for our appetite to fluctuate a little, depending on exercise, stress and hormones. But some foods will artificially amplify your appetite, driving you to distraction and blowing a balanced day of eating out the window!

Find out what 6 foods will rev up those hunger pangs, and some handy alternatives to eat instead!

  1. White Toast

It’s fluffy. It’s slightly sweet and it’s oh-so-delicious. Yet this common breakfast choice has some deceptive qualities that are fully programmed to bring on an appetite attack!

Like any refined carbohydrate, white bread is made from a flour that is devoid of its bran and fiber content. This means that our body can digest the leftover starch very quickly, and convert it into sugar.

The result? Blood sugar levels spike and we get a massive dump of insulin into the bloodstream. Then blood sugar levels plummet and we’re left wondering why we feel like devouring the kitchen.

Throw in some butter (which sends happy, opiate-like signals to the brain) plus a sweet spread, and you don’t have a recipe for breakfast… You have a recipe for hunger!

Choose Instead: Toasted multigrain spelt, sourdough, gluten-free or sprouted essene bread. Choose a spread that is low in sugar, such as a nut butter, pure peanut butter, tahini, avocado or chia jam.

  1. Fries

In terms of top foods that are hardwired to make us eat more, and MORE, then still want more later – fries are certainly up there!

The hunger-driving effects of fries are twofold. Firstly, fries are totally oozing with fat and smothered in salt; two components that light up our brains with pleasure signals and stimulate our appetite.

Fries are also undeniably delicious. This is also an important factor to consider when it comes to hunger, as humans don’t just eat for physiological reasons. We eat because it tastes good too!

Choose Instead: A whole-baked jacket potato, sweet potato fries, homemade zucchini chips or even a health-ified potato salad.

     3: Beer, wine and spirits… Or anything alcoholic! 

We’re often told that the occasional glass of red is good for your health. Rich in heart-healthy antioxidants and polyphenols, there’s a good argument in favor of enjoying red wine in moderation.

On the flip side, alcohol – of any kind – is a known appetite stimulant and will make most people eat more. Plus, it relaxes you and lower your inhibitions around food – which is probably not so good if you have heart disease.

Choose Instead: If you’re going to drink, choose red wine for its antioxidant quality. Stick to one standard glass and drink it slowly throughout your meal. Always aim to have several nights a week which are alcohol free.

     4: Chinese Fast Food (MSG)

On paper, it would appear that Chinese food has many of the qualities which would usually help us feel full. Many dishes are high in protein, provide a half-decent serve of veggies (depending on where you go) and generally contains rice, which tends to be bulking in the stomach.

Yet inside that delicious plate of sweet and salty deliciousness lurks a very clever little additive which has been engineered with one agenda in mind – to make us eat more.

MSG, monosodium glutamate and E621 all refer to an artificial flavor enhancer that is commonly used in Chinese cuisine. Research shows that regular intake of MSG may override the satiety centres of the brain and therefore contribute to obesity.

Choose Instead: Chinese restaurants that explicitly don’t use MSG or make your own delicious Chinese dishes at home!

     5: Sugary Cereals

Kids’ sugary breakfast cereals may be tastebud-pleasers, yet they are laced with all sorts of hidden nasties that aren’t too pleasing in other ways.

For starters, did you know that the average kids’ cereal is loaded with almost twice the amount of sugar than adult versions? Hello blood sugar mayhem!

This sugar also typically comes from high fructose corn syrup, which may interfere with the body’s release of leptin, the ‘fullness hormone’. Therefore, our body doesn’t get the normal signals to stop munching.

Choose Instead: A wholesome granola, oatmeal, porridge or chia pudding. You can also check out these top tips for making a healthy breakfast.

  1. The Not-So-Sweet Sweeteners

Even though the label may read ‘diet’, don’t let this clever marketing deceive you.

When our tastebuds detect the sweet flavor of artificial sweeteners, the body prepares for a rush of carbohydrate or sugar… That never comes. Effectively, these sweeteners hijack the brain’s centre that detects sweet foods, yet never follows up with the physical delivery of sweetness.

We’re left hungry, unsatisfied and yearning for a real sweet treat – something to hit the sweet spot that our brain and body expected.

Choose Instead: If you really, genuinely are craving something sweet, opt for something that is naturally sweetened (for example with honey, rice malt syrup, coconut sugar, rapadura or pure maple syrup). Many raw, nut-based vegan desserts are also a better option because they are micronutrient-dense, meaning that you still get a bunch of vitamins and minerals as you indulge.

What foods do you find make you more hungry and what do you eat instead?