I admit, this week has been a struggle. Emotions (hormones!?) are running rampant, and physically I’m a tad under the weather. It’s hard to keep motivated and optimistic when you are feeling sluggish, that’s for sure.
Misty and myself have watched far too much television this week, I’ve been lazy with the cooking (surviving on cafe-leftovers…. perks of working in hospitality) and I haven’t washed my hair in I don’t know how long (actually that’s no real change). That’s OK though, as some weeks, you are not on you “A game,” and that’s perfectly fine. These things happen. I use these little stages as an opportunity to practise a little self-love, and to “let-go” of preconceived ideas of what I should be doing/achieving/being. Learning a little more about myself through my healing crisis, I have become a little more tolerant of myself and realise that it is a good thing to admit to having limitations.
Nobody is perfect – if that was the case, life would be so boring.
Anyway, Misty and me have been spending a lot of time at home this week, so we have been experimenting. I spent today chasing him around the house with the scissors, as his hair is slightly out of control (in the mullet-sense) – he was not amused. Anyway, I managed to get the hair cut out of his eyes, which is an achievement – but if anything, the mullet is even more pronounced. Oh well, I’ll take a mullet over a bowl cut any day.
I’ve never been one to use hair-products…. usually they are ridiculously overpriced and so full of toxic crap I won’t go near the things. After Misty’s hair cut today, I thought it would be kind of cool to play around with styling his new “do.” I have heard about people using flax gel for a hair product, but as usual I started to play around with what I had on hand – a never ending jar of xantham gum. This gel results in what I would call a “wet-look,” and it goes a little crunchy when it dries (like a hair-spray) – any way it makes for cute spikes on a little boy’s head, that’s for sure.
DIY Natural Hair Gel
- 1C water
- 1t xantham gum
- This is easiest to prepare in a food processor/blender as otherwise the xantham gum tends to just lump-up.
- Whizz together and store in a little jar/air tight container.
- Use SPARINGLY – you don’t need much at all – 1/2 a tsp rubbed into your palms and then used to style is ample.
What are your ways of finding balance when you have an “off” day (or week)? Yoga and a good nap are my 2 favourites.
I’m always playing around with the way I eat and WHAT I eat. It interests me – that’s not a crime is it? Viper thinks I’m completely nuts – ‘Lou, you’re going off on another one of your weird eating tangents.’ I suppose coming from the man that gets sick less than once in a blue moon, has no food sensitivities, and can pretty much eat burgers and chocolate constantly without putting on weight – maybe what I test out on myself could seem slightly towards the extreme?
I’m definitely more concerned about health and well being than Viper – and perhaps my over active mind is to blame for my tests and experiments on myself…. it’s all in the search for vibrant good health though.
Anyway, like I mentioned in my last post I’ve been experimenting with a new way of eating – mainly carbohydrates (from fruit and veggies), a smaller amount of protein (from leafy greens) and a small amount of healthy fat (tahini, nuts, avocado). In “trendy” terms, this would be classed as High Carb, Raw Vegan (or Low Fat Raw Vegan) Now this may seem like a huge contradiction to my Anti-Candida Crusade where I banned ALL fruit. After doing a lot of reading, there is an argument to contest the idea that sugar is the culprit for causing candida – and FAT is the true nasty. Who knows for sure, but I am willing to test this out (mainly because it involves eating ridiculous amounts of fruit – heaven). Raechel has just done a little recap on her own experiment into this way of eating.
I’m 10 days in to this new fruity regime, and honestly I feel really good. The caffeine-withdrawal headache has gone, and I feel like my energy is better during the day (no huge slumps). If I start to feel tired, or unmotivated, I eat some fruit = instant energy. Viper (again) thought I was nuts when I came home with a box of bananas, bags of mango, bunches and bunches of silver beet and trays of dates. You have to eat a LOT of produce to get enough calories each day – and actually, I think I am eating more calories than I ever had before – and it’s delicious. My digestion has improved considerably, and my skin seems softer for some reason.
You might think that it’s some crack-pot new fad diet, but it’s actually quite the opposite. My motivation is not to lose weight – I actually think I’ve put on a few kilos since starting this, but I feel really good – and that’s the idea right? Feeling healthy and full of energy is always the clincher for me – and I really believe that the way we eat dictates this. I think the reason that I am really liking this way of eating is that it is simple. No crazy ingredients, no dropping heaps of cash on fancy super foods, very minimal preparation – maybe I’m just lazy but I’m really enjoying not cooking (although I am still cooking for Viper & Misty, but at least my meals are easy). Plus, it’s working out a lot cheaper to eat this way – less than $10 a day for all the fruit and veggies I can handle.
Anyway, I’m not sure how long I will maintain this, but for now, I am loving it (plus it’s way too hot here to be eating cooked food) – I will keep you updated (I plan to get some blood work done to track my progress - of course I am still supplementing with B12 and iron). For now, though – here’s my answer to coffee at the moment: (inspired by Raechel’s idea for a warm cocoa)
Creamy Date Dandelion “Latte”
(Vegan, High Raw, gluten/wheat/soy/nut/refined sugar free)
- 1C brewed dandelion “coffee” (roast dandelion root) – not strictly “raw” but it’s delicious and great for the liver.
- 1 medium ripe banana
- 2 medjool dates
- 1/8t cinnamon
- Blend all ingredients together until very smooth.
- Serve warm, or chuck in a few ice cubes for an iced refresher.
Are you willing to try any form of craziness for your health?
Being a parent is a constant challenge. Through my limited experience with Misty, it seems as though he just constantly goes through “stages.” These stages last days, weeks, but they come – and then they go. Some stages are fantastic – you can’t believe how happy, well behaved and affectionate your child is. Other stages are really trying – the “I want to run onto the road and/or play in car parks so I can touch other peoples’ cars” stage. Or the “I never ever want to hold your hand, and if you try I will throw myself on the ground and refuse to get up” stage.
It seems like Misty is really relishing his advancing into the “Terrible Twos,” – and he is living up to the title. Poor dude, he’s got a whopping molar coming through, so no wonder he is a little on-edge, but some days I really wish there was some kind of mute button. It’s the grizzling and whinging that really drives me mad…. Viper says he gets it from me, Ha. Misty has also discovered how to say “YUCK!” and throw/push food away. Oh the joys.
I am a garlic fiend, that’s nothing new. I know not everyone shares my love of this pungent bulb – but I DO encourage you to chuck a few bulbs in the oven, next time you are cooking up dinner. Just throw them in, as is, until they are very tender (squeezable) to the touch – I find a moderate temperature of about 160 degrees C is fine. Oh, yes, you will smell them – it’s incredible. Gently roasting garlic really brings out it’s natural sweetness, and the intensity of flavour is mellowed considerably. So much so, I can eat bulb after bulb – just popping the little cloves into my mouth as if I was chowing down on chips.
Don’t freak out when you see the amount of garlic I have listed in the following recipe – seriously it doesn’t taste overly garlicky. Even Misty par-took in sampling some of this dip, and I didn’t hear the dreaded “Yuck!” – so that’s got to mean it’s good, right? At the moment all he wants to eat are bananas and plain popcorn – and when I refuse him these, a tantrum ensues. Oh the joy.
Creamy Red Lentil Dip with Roasted Garlic and Pumpkin
(Vegan, gluten/wheat/corn/nut/seed/refined sugar free)
- 1C cooked red lentils
- 1C roasted pumpkin
- 1/2t sea salt
- 2t whole grain mustard
- 2T apple cider vinegar
- 1 BULB roasted garlic
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4C fresh basil
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and whizz until smooth.
Maybe it’s just me, (the sensitive, over-thinker that I am) but some days I feel as if there is a little bit of a “superiority syndrome” in the healthy living world. I suppose there will always be the extremists in every “movement” whether it be healthy living, parenting, politics, social fads etc. Maybe it’s the technology: socially centred platforms to observe and communicate which make the “elitist” attitudes more visible…. ways of updating every minute of the day, what you are eating, what your child is doing, creating, ANYTHING to the “nth” degree. I don’t know – some days it drives me mad. Other days, people may view ME as one of the extremists, comparatively – posting pictures and ranting about some crazy concoction of a raw/vegan/wheat/sugar free pile of slop.
Do you feel the need to compare yourself? Your own habits? Does it all confuse you as much a me, and do you tell Face Book that you hate it every day, knowing you are a slave to it, and will sign back in without fail? Before I started blogging, I had actually divorced Face Book for good – Viper hates it with every inch of his being, and refuses to be involved. The thing is, I love blogging, and I love connecting with like minded people – Face Book IS a brilliant tool for doing so. I think (again) the key to keeping social media a healthy, inspiring way of connecting is to practise moderation.
Some days, I eat predominately raw food (especially if the weather is warm). Other days, all I eat is cooked. Some days I eat grains, some days I don’t. Variety is the spice of life, no? Some days I will drink red wine until my teeth are black and start shouting at someone’s head about how the Rolling Stones are the best band in the world forever and ever Amen (oh, wait, no that’s Viper – I’m usually cackling and jumping around to The Clash and telling Misty the origins of his middle name. Oh Joe Strummer I love you, taken from this cruel world, far too early). Anyway, what I’m trying to get across is that moderation and balance is key for anything in life – do what feels right for YOU and comparing yourself or your habits to anyone else is just a waste of energy. Put you energy into making something Yummy – works for me.
“Living” Lemon Herb Hummus
(Vegan/Anti Candida/RAW/nut/corn/soy/refined sugar free)
- 2C (packed in tight) rocket leaves
- 2C coriander (cilantro) – stems included – so much flavour in there! Make sure to rinse well, as coriander tends to be a bit gritty.
- Zest & juice 2 large lemons
- 2 cloves crushed garlic – more or less to taste – i tend to use about 4 cloves, but I’m crazy.
- 1C sprouted sunflower seeds*
- 1C sprouted chickpeas*
- 4T olive oil
- 4T water
- 2t apple cider vinegar
- 1/2t sea salt
- 1t crushed chilli (this will give it a medium heat rating)
- Lots of freshly ground black pepper to taste.
*Info on How To Sprout : HERE
- In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
- Store in the fridge.
Ha. I’m sure going through the process of soaking and sprouting seeds and beans to make a “living” hummus could come across as a little “extremist” to some…. or perhaps perfectly normal to others? Perception is a funny thing. I don’t care what it comes across as honestly, as this tastes good, and at the end of the day – if my belly is happy, then I am happy. Enough said.
A.Vogel Herbamare® is a herbal seasoning salt prepared from a combination of 12 fresh, organically grown herbs and vegetables made according to the original formula of the famous Swiss Naturopath A.Vogel. The fresh ingredients are combined with natural sea salt and allowed to “steep” for up to 12 months. The moisture is then removed by a special vaccum process at low temperature, allowing all the goodness of the ingredients to be absorbed by the salt crystals.
FREE from Added Gluten, Wheat, Sugar, Cow’s Milk, Egg Protein, Lactose, Soya, Sesame, Casin, Artificial Flavours, Preservatives or Colouring, Peanut, Nut, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Hydrolised Vegetable Protein (HVP), animal by-products.
FREE from Synthetically Produced Substances, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and Genetic Engineering (GE)
Good to Know
Certified Kosher (Not for Passover)
Suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans.
Suitable for persons on a low sugar diet.
Unrefined Sea salt, celery leaves*, leek*, cress* (water and garden), onion*, chive*, parsley*, lovage*, garlic*, basil*, marjoram*, rosemary*, thyme*, kelp (with trace iodine).
*Organically grown Certified by bio.inspecta AG
- 1C finely diced brown onion (red is fine too)
- 1C finely chopped carrot (about 1 large carrot)
- 1C finely chopped celery
- 1/4t white pepper
- 2+ 1/2t herbal sea salt** (This measurement is based on using Herbamare…. if you are using a differnt sea salt blend then start off with 1t, taste, and add more if it needs it – intuitive cooking, right?)
- 1 can organic chopped tomatoes
- 3/4C organic red lentils
- 5 +3/4C water
- Freshly ground black pepper for garnish
- Combine all ingredients except lentils in a large saucepan, and bring to a rolling boil.
- Add lentils, reduce to a simmer.
- Keeping an eye on the pot, stir every few minutes (lentils will stick and BURN like you wouldn’t believe, I don’t know how many pots of burnt on lentils I have scrubbed, and I’d rather not know) for about half an hour. You will know when the lentils are cooked as the soup will turn super thick – almost like a runny porridge consistency.
- Serve with crusty bread for a super filling and warming meal. Garnish with black pepper, and even some fresh herbs if you feel the need.
- I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure this would work in a slow-cooker/crock pot…. I would say 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low would do the trick.
- First up, fry off the onions with a couple of rashers of bacon before adding the other ingredients – for those meat-enthusiastic family members.
- Try a curried version…. Dry toast 1/4t ground ginger, 1t cumin, 1t ground coriander seed, 1/2t mustard powder, chilli powder to taste, and add to the saucepan with all the other ingredients. Reduce the water to 5C. Add in 1 can of coconut milk. Garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges.
- Really you can use any sort of “hard” vegetable: parsnip, squash, pumpkin, green beans – use up what you have.
This soup is fantastic for toddlers/babies (even naughty ones who decide to steal bouquets at weddings…. during the ceremony) if your little one is super young, then blend up the soup and omit the salt.
Here we are again. Anti Candida diet ahoy. If you can’t tell, I’m not very enthusiastic about leaving behind all those lovely champagnes, cocktails, rich dinners out and treats that are associated with celebrations and fun times. Let’s just say, when I started eating fruit and sweeties again, I had a bit of trouble with moderation, whoopsie. Stupid fruit, why is it so tasty? Medjool dates, I am shaking my fist at you. So I have had my week in the sun, and now I have to go back to NO sugar NO alcohol NOTHING that could tempt those nasty yeasty beasties to grow more.
The following recipe is kind of a mis-match of flavours that kind of sort of lean towards Middle Eastern fare (think garlic, tahini, lemon, heaps of fresh herbs) – the cauliflower rice adds texture and a bit of fun.
I suppose in some way, breaking my Anti Candida regime early on was a good test of sorts – it has shown me that there IS a yeast overgrowth problem in my system, and cutting sugar/food HIGH in carbohydrates really did have an effect on my well being. Dam you tasty vegan truffles laced with booze.
Raw Cauli “Tabouli” with Hummus
(Vegan, RAW, gluten/wheat/soy/nut/refined sugar free. Anti Candida)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4C sun dried tomatoes
- 1t apple cider vinegar
- 1T tahini
- 1/2 clove crushed garlic (optional if you don’t like it raw… or if you are a freak like me, you will add another 2 cloves of the good stuff)
- 2T finely chopped capers
- 1/2C fresh mint and parsley, finely chopped – or more/less whatever you like – reserve some for garnishing
- 1C cauliflower “rice” (Whizz up raw cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles rice)
- Pinch of sea salt – season to taste this will depend how salty your capers/tomatoes are
- Lots of freshly ground black pepper
- Hummus* to serve
- Roughly run a knife through sun dried tomatoes, capers and herbs.
- Combine these chopped ingredients with lemon juice, crushed garlic) vinegar, tahini, salt and pepper.
- Let this dressing “marinate” for half an hour or so (not crucial, but this really lets the flavours develop.
- Stir through cauliflower “rice” and add some additional fresh herbs for garnish.
Give it all a good roughing up on the chopping board – get the flavours mingling.
Not very attractive, but it sure is tasty.
Crunchy, textural and very zingy thanks to the lemon juice.
Serve with a huge dollop of hummus, as there isn’t much that is not improved by a whack of hummus.
I’m getting more inspired by savoury dishes these days…. if you hadn’t noticed, I tend to favour the sweet style of eats on this blog. I love sweets and fruits SO much, but it seems that they don’t love ME quite so much. Bummer.
I think I’m experiencing post-wedding-blues.
It’s crazy how quick it is all done and over with. So so so much hype, excitement, tears, tantrums, fun, love – and then boom, all over. Life goes on…. straight back to reality and the normality of day to day life. I’m feeling a little blah to say the least.
Let me just say that a wedding is not a good time to be doing a candida cleanse. You only get married once (hopefully) and I was not going to deny myself of champagne, delicious coffees, sugar, amazing dinners out, cider, liquers, and so on.
So I am starting again – my symptoms HAD reduced dramatically, but now they are back with a vengeance. It was so worth it though.
My (new) Mother in Law made me some delicious stuffed mushrooms the other night, which has got me on a mushroom eating bender. Better than a tequila bender for sure. These have a sort of Italian-style flavour; the combination of nutritional yeast and silken tofu replace the cheese…. and fresh herbs are always a welcomed touch.
Easy Kale and Sundried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms
(Vegan, Anti-Candida, gluten, wheat, nut, refined sugar free)
- 6 medium field mushrooms
- 250g silken tofu, patted dry
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4C sundried tomatoes
- 4 stems of kale… leaves only…. washed and finely chopped (or baby spinach if you aren’t into kale… maybe 2C leaves packed tight)
- Fresh herbs: I used basil and oregano… 3T finely chopped
- 1/4t sea salt
- 3T nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1t apple cider vinegar
- 1t balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Combine all ingredients (except mushrooms) in a mixing bowl, and leave to “marinate” for a few hours…. this will also help the kale soften.
- Stuff mushrooms with spoonfuls of the kale mix, and bake for 25 minutes at 180 degrees C.
- Viper does not like kale. All the more for me.
I thought I would fill you in on my latest discovery with “healing with herbs.” A magical ingredient that had taken a back corner of my pantry has stepped up to take my herbal treatments to the next level: Guar Gum. If you do a lot of gluten-free baking, you will probably be familiar with this gum (or it’s friend, xantham). Anyway, guar gum is a super thickening agent – basically it’s “thickening” qualities are about 8 times stronger than that of cornstarch, so a little goes a long way. I didn’t realise this, but it is actually used quite a lot in cosmetics. I stumbled across the idea of using it, when I was brewing up a herbal infusion, but wanted it to stick to my skin. It really does work a treat…. Guar gum is usually available at health food stores, or in gluten free sections – just ask.
There are no set rules with making a herbal infusion (well, I’m sure there are, but I’m not one to follow rules). I usually steep 1/4Cish herbs in 1C water that has been boiled, but left to cool slightly before pouring over herbs. Leave to step for anywhere from 1-10 hours.
- 1C herbal infusion*
- Essential oils of choice (about 5 drops)
- 1 + 1/2t (or up to 2t, depending on the thickness you desire)guar gum
- The easiest way to do this is actually in a food processor/blender. You can just use a whisk, but you are more likely to get lumps.
- Place infusion and essential oil in the food processor (or a large bowl if you are whisking) turn it on to get the liquid moving (or start whisking really fast!).
- Little by little, sprinkle in the guar gum (similarly to if you were adding oil while making mayonaise) until you reach your desired consistency.
- Store gel in the fridge and use within a few days of making it (there is no preservative in it, so it will probably go off pretty quickly) This makes 1C gel.
Yes, this particular blend (licorice root, calendula and lavender looks like snot).
I used this particular blend on my irritated skin…. stored in the fridge it was so cooling on my scratchy, sore skin…. plus created a “film” over the affected area which gave me some relief.
Next up, I wanted to try this method a a hair conditioning mask. Orange/lemon peel, rosemary and ginger. Infused for about 4 hours.
Still looks like snot, but anyway.
I used this on my hair, after washing with Dr Broner’s. I basically slopped about half of the recipe on my head (my hair is pretty long) and left it on for about 10 minutes while me and Misty bathed. Rinse and done. Now, this does NOT help with tangles… be ready to get out your comb. Otherwise I was left with silky soft, shiny hair. Success. It also works really well as a shaving gel (much less razor-clogging than my usual coconut oil). Another win.
***I am not a herbalist/professional and these are my own personal experiments, use this info at your own risk***
It’s been over a year since my last big eczema break out. Since changing my diet to being purely vegan, my skin has been nothing but awesome. Until now. It’s really weird; I’ve broken out all down my sides and across my chest… places that have never been really effected during skin troubles in the past.
I can’t put my finger on what may have caused it (you never really can) – I haven’t done anything dramatically different diet wise, nor have I changed any washing/body product. The only thing I can think of (besides seasonal/environmental allergies) is that Misty and myself used eye drops (antibiotics) last week to cure a case (or 2 cases) of the sticky eye, ick (thanks for that, Misty Man).
I know I’m playing Lou- “self-diagnosing”- MD here, but Misty has a few weird spots over his back which is unusual. Viper, of course, is fine. (Shakes fist at Viper and his ability to never get sick/have any strange medical issues). Basically, I’ve been really uncomfortable, sore and ITCHY…. not fun. However, there is no way I’m going to revert back to using steroid creams, so I have been experimenting with a few herbal remedies along with a homeopathic nettle-based topical cream.
Making a fenugreek paste with some native Lemon Myrtle from the garden (so I didn’t smell 100% like curry).
I’ve actually come up with a way to make a herbal “gel” – which works really well as it actually STICKS to your skin as opposed to say, soaking in a herbal bath or consuming a herbal infusion. It’s really cooling when you apply it on itchy, irritated skin (like how aloe vera gel feels). Recipe is in progress…. I’m trying out a licorice root and lavender variation today.
Gooey. I’m quite happy with this discovery though – I think it could also work as a shaving gel, and possibly even a hair conditioning mask. Will continue experimenting, and get back to you.
On another “Skin Deep” issue – I have discovered that the only thing my head/hair likes as a shampoo is Dr Broner’s in LAVENDER…. even just switching the type of Dr Broner’s I use mucks up my scalp – yes, I’m a pretty sensitive soul. Even though I love the peppermint variety, it leaves my hair really flat, and almost filmy. The lavender, however makes it soft and shiny. Just goes to show how unique we all are… even down to what we use to wash our hair. Regular shampoo, “NO-poo,” herbal rinses (like what Allie has been creating) – experiment and find what works for YOU.
Anyway, wish me luck on my quest to heal my skin “herbally” – if you have sensitive skin too, start guzzling red clover and chamomile tea as I am, and hopefully we’ll resolve uncomfortable skin issues.
* I am not a herbalist or anything close to that. I make weird stuff in my kitchen. Use this information at your own risk.