It’s a beautiful day and you don’t see it…

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7 tips to unplug and enjoy the moment

This video about the power of words went viral a few years ago. You see a blind man modestly begging on the streets. His sign says ‘I’m blind. Please help’. People ignore him and he gathers the coin equivalent of about a take-away cappuccino (Yes, Australia’s expensive). Then a helpful lady changes the words on his sign and kaching; he gets more coin than the average slot machine. The new words are indeed powerful:

“It’s a beautiful day… and I can’t see it”

I won’t go into the art of how to write or how to appeal to your audience. This post is about us willingly putting ourselves in the same situation as this blind man. Especially Gen Y. Why? Because this is normal.

Photo: CREATISTA/Shutterstock

Photo: CREATISTA/Shutterstock

“It’s a beautiful day… and we don’t see it

We spend hours every day looking for connections. Even the hours that offer so much more than the unfulfilling, shallow contact that social media and typed words allow. I went out for a run today and it was so gorgeous outside. Green, sunny, pretty boats on the river… and every other person not taking in the beauty because they were face down in their phones!

I’m not saying I’m not guilty of this behaviour, but the sadness of the ‘smartphone zombie’ does hit me when, you know… I’m not being one myself :)

Why unplugging is necessary

  • Boredom is essential for creativity.
  • Solitude is a gift you don’t want to give away. Always being connected takes away the beauty of being completely alone.
  • Screen to screen contact doesn’t hold a candle to face to face. Without physical- and eye contact and the non-verbal communication you get from tone of voice, you won’t feel the same level of satisfaction from the connection. Come on, you know this is true.
  • Ever been jealous of the glamorous life of a Facebook or Instagram friend? Or feel lonely when you’re watching photos of your friends catching up without you? Yeah, me too. Less time on social media = less feelings of jealousy. It’s that simple.
  • Looking at video’s of cats and seeing what your ex co-worker had for dinner is taking valuable time away from more productive endeavours.

If you’re like me, you know all this, but still it’s hard as nails to put the smartdumb phone down.

Here are 7 tips to get out of the toxic relationship with your gadgets:

  1. Pick up your phone, go to Settings and turn off all automatic notifications from unnecessary apps, social media and email. This might sound scary, but odds are you won’t miss out on anything big. Let go of the FOMO!
  2. Go through your Facebook friends list and unfriend -or at least unfollow- anyone you don’t really care about and who doesn’t care about you. They don’t just take up space on your newsfeed, they take valuable time as well.
  3. Turn off the noise on the toys. Set your phone to vibrate as much as possible. You don’t need to be drawn to your phone even more than you already are.
  4. Put your phone charger outside of the bedroom. Before you go to bed, finish your phone business and put it on the charger. Many of us take our phones to bed and stare at that tiny blue screen till we nod off. And when we grab the phone to turn off its alarm, we check our emails, Facebook and Twitter feeds. By putting the phone out of reach, we restore a healthy, relaxing sleep routine.
  5. Choose a ‘power down’ time-slot every day. I recommend the first hour and/or the last one. Or if that doesn’t work for you, how about lunch? The ‘when’ isn’t as important as the discipline of intentionally powering down.
  6. If you like music during your runs, that’s fine. I do too. Without some dubstep I probably wouldn’t exercise half as much. But what you don’t need, is not seeing your environment because you’re refreshing your Instagram feed for the umpteenth time. So if you still have an iPod laying around, plug your earphones into that badboy instead of your smartphone. All an iPod does is is play music, it can’t distract you (too much) from your environment.
  7. 7. If you’re unable to reduce tech-time with the above tips, do this; put a cup of water in a blender, add your phone and blend till smooth. Why? You’re obviously too addicted to be a responsible smartphone owner ;)

Good luck powering down, let me know what you did with those extra ‘in-the-moment’ moments!

Simple Banana-Raspberry Ice Cream Recipe

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Banana-Raspberry Ice Cream

© Jannie Post, my amazing mom. She had to take this picture in a flash (pun!), because my dad was circling these like a vulture.

When you’re trying to eat healthier, sugary treats are the first things to go. For me, not having ice cream on a warm day is nearly impossible. On one such day I pawed through the freezer like a desperate addict looking for any kind of frozen sweets and came up with one banana and some raspberries.

Now, when I want ice cream, I shall freaking HAVE my ice cream! And this is how this stupid-simple recipe for Paleo ice cream came to be.

Banana-raspberry ice cream recipe

Makes 2 servings
  • 1 banana, frozen or room temperature
  • 1 cup of raspberries, frozen
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk

Blend until smooth. How simple is that? So little effort, so much yum.

The banana adds sweetness and texture. The raspberries add the tartness needed to balance out the banana, and the coconut milk gives you that creamy richness and blendability!

Enjoy this guilt-free sweet treat!

The Most Valuable Souvenir

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Valuing the emotional gifts of your holiday

On top of the Eiffel Tower, right after Jozef and I got engaged. An epic night!

On top of the Eiffel Tower, right after Jozef and I got engaged. An epic night!

I just finished the trip of a lifetime. It was so more than the sum of its parts. Not only did I get to spend four months in Europe with my loved ones, I got engaged to the love of my life and got a fresh start. Now that I’m back in Perth, it feels like I hit the ‘reset’ button.

When you work every day, exercise Tuesday and Thursday nights, watch a movie on Friday and do the washing on Saturday morning, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a rut. Both boring and comforting, don’t you think? You look forward to the weekends and the thought of your next holiday keeps you going when the rat race gets you down. Working as hard as you do, you damn well deserve it, right? So you ooh and ah at every Tripadvisor landmark, enjoy those piña coladas without worrying about the calorie load and develop a golden glow on the beach. It’s heaven.

Back in the rat race
But then you come back home, unpack, get up early, go back to work again, answer those 70 emails and voila; you’re back in the grind. It feels like you never left. It’s easy to forget what your holiday gave you and let your mind slip back into the routine of devoting half of your mind to work and the other half to dwelling in the past and worrying about the future. Soooo… when was that next holiday again?

If you’re not careful, you slip back into your mind’s routine while your holiday and what it gave you moves to the background. NOW would be the time to turn off your phone, take a deep breath, close your eyes and think of your holiday. I bet you got ideas at the beach that you wouldn’t have gotten at your desk. You may not even have noticed them! If you think back, you may find that you got closer than ever before to improving situations in your life. Maybe a thought just popped into your head about how to deal with your troubled friend? Or perhaps the realisation that you’re on the wrong career path slowly crawled into your mind, like a snake in the grass.
If your subconscious was nice enough to tell you something when your mind slowed down, don’t just listen; remember it when the noise of everyday tries to crowd it out.

For me, my time relaxing in Europe has brought me closer to what I want in life. Having so many experiences uninfluenced by work and routine, gave me a more solid idea of what truly interests me. I’m the kind of person who gets obsessed with martial arts one week and making homemade lipgloss the next. It can be frustrating, but when I have loads of time on my hands, I find myself coming back to the same genre of hobbies and interests. The next time I get caught up in everyday worries, I will remind myself of all the lessons I learned when my mind was free!

What more has your holiday brought you besides a tan and a change of scenery?

Paleo Blueberry Lemon Muffins Recipe

blog_blueberrylemonmuffins2

© Jozef Vojkovic

I love all food, but it’s the sweets that have a special place in my heart. There’s only one thing better than making a pretty sweet treat and that’s a pretty sweet treat that get the ‘thumbs up’ from those of us with food allergies. No gluten, no dairy! Just as yummy, without the bloat. And healthier than your average muffin too :)

So I found this recipe on one of my favourite Paleo recipe sites, the aptly named PaleOMG.com, and changed the recipe slightly to suit making muffins instead of . They came out lovely and worthy of sharing with you.

I asked my budding photographer boyfriend to take some pics, and I think he came through in fine style! Without further ado, the recipe (original from PaleOMG.com):

Paleo Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Makes about 10 muffins

Ingredients

For the muffins
  • ⅔ cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 5 eggs
  • ⅓ cup almond milk (or coconut milk)
  • ¼ cup (raw) honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil for greasing muffin tin or use silicone cupcake liners
For the icing
  • ½ cup coconut butter or coconut cream concentrate
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ⅛ cup (raw) honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Sift your coconut flour into a bowl. If you do not have a sifter, that’s fine, just try to get rid of the coconut flour clumps by pressing down a fork through the flour.
  3. Add eggs and almond/coconut milk and mix until smooth.
  4. Then add the honey, vanilla extract, lemon juice, lemon zest, baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Mix well to combine.
  5. Fold in your blueberries carefully.
  6. Grease your muffin tin with coconut oil or use those handy silicone cupcake liners that I use and put them into the muffin tin.
  7. Fill the holes of the muffin tin to about 2/3 full. You should be able to make about 10 muffins.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until slightly brown on the top and cooked through in the middle. Do the toothpick test to check.
  9. Let muffins cool before removing them from the tin.
  10. While they’re cooling, mix together the coconut cream or melted coconut butter, lemon juice, and honey until well mixed. I used coconut cream which gave me a creamy, runny topping rather than icing. Just as good, but maybe not very transportable.
  11. Add icing when muffins are cool.

Thanks to Juli from PaleOMG.com for this recipe. Enjoy your paleo-gasm ;)

Last Minute, FREE, Non-Candy Valentine’s Printables

I’m not much of a Valentine’s Day fan myself. I admit, I’d be upset if I was ignored, but I don’t expect expensive gifts and candy is not an ideal gift for someone like me. I’d just eat the whole container and feel bloated afterwards…

If you agree that it’s good to remember of the true spirit of Valentine’s Day (love, not diamonds :)) then take a look at these cute, FREE printables for your special someone, gathered from around the web. Great for your budget, no pressure, all heart-felt and 100% candy-free, guaranteed.

Valentine’s Day Printable Gift Ideas

What Does a Peaceful Place Tell You?

An epiphany in the bathroom, born out of boredom

Hi, my name is Wendy and I’m a phone-a-holic. I’m addicted to its comforting presence in my right hand. I even take it to the bathroom to play Freecell. This is not something I talk about in polite conversation, but I know I’m not the only one. The guy who once fixed my broken iPhone told me that most of his customers had dropped their phones into the toilet. But today I didn’t have my phone with me and was forced to spend an entertainment-free, gadget-less few minutes in solitude. And gosh darn it, I actually had a thought or two.

Why-oh-why do we avoid quiet alone time by filling each and every moment with entertainment? Are we afraid of the thoughts that might come up? With just a few minutes of me-time, I thought about things that hadn’t occurred to me in a while. I thought of my goals of expanding this blog, get a 2nd job and save for my big holiday to Europe and the steps I need to take to reach these goals. I thought of gift ideas for friends (homemade lip balm, anyone?) and article ideas (like this one). And all because I had a few moments without any distractions.

Downwards spiral?
I wonder what might have popped into my head if I was not in a good place mentally. If I had a tendency towards depression, would I think of all the things that are wrong with my life? All the goals I didn’t reach? Is that why many people avoid quiet time? I fear so.

The Whisper of Truth
I once heard ‘the truth speaks from a quiet place’ (in an episode of Dexter (a remarkable source of wisdom for a show about a serial killer) and this really resonated with me. I think it hits the nail dead-smack on the head when it comes to avoiding that quiet place. On the one hand we want to be productive, reach our goals and learn life lessons. But… that requires facing our weaknesses and mistakes. *gulp* Painful! We’re all hard-wired to avoid discomfort, and there’s nothing more uncomfortable than facing our weaknesses and working hard to turn them into strengths.

So let me lend a voice to boredom and say you NEED it to grow, to thrive and reach your goals. Whether it’s meditating before bed or having me-time in the loo, make sure you get those boring, entertainment-free minutes to let the truth speak to you. Who knows, you might actually get something out of it ;)

Useless Skincare Products & Natural Ingredients to Avoid

blog_uselessproductsLet’s take a second to think about what you’ve spent on skincare products in your life. I don’t know about you, but in my case it’s easily thousands of dollars. If I had only known then that at least half of that could have stayed in my pocket…

Many skincare products are either useless or downright harmful. It would be better -for your skin and your wallet- to replace them with cheaper, simpler alternatives.

The Skinny on Skin

Your skin is a barrier between your insides and the outside world. But that doesn’t mean you can smear anything on there and have it simply wash off. It’s your largest organ and it interacts with your insides. Not everything you put on your skin gets absorbed, but you still have to be question your creams, soaps and powders; what’s in them? And what might it be doing to your body?

Useless cosmetics

Stop buying

Replace with

Anti-cellulite cream Losing weight & exercise.
Save your pennies; this stuff doesn’t work. Companies that manufacture this stuff are just preying on your insecurities to get your $$. If you want to lose your cellulite, then eating healthy, losing weight & exercising are the only things that can have any effect.
Anything containing alcohol (except fatty alcohols such as cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol) Gentler options
Just look at the ingredients label and if it says alcohol, put it back. Many, many skincare products, especially toners and anti-acne products contain this common skin irritant. The research is clear: Alcohol harms your skin’s protective barrier, triggers free-radical damage, makes oily skin and redness worse, and is best described as “pro-aging.” Whatever product you’re looking for, there are gentler options available!
Bar soap A gentle body wash.
Soap or bar cleanser is almost always drying and the ingredients that keep bar cleansers solid are not the best for skin.
Deodorant (most commercial) Either nothing or a deodorant without alcohol and harmful synthetic ingredients.
Why? Think about why you sweat. You sweat to 1) keep your body cool and 2) to eliminate toxins and waste from your body. Why clog the pores of your pits with petro-chemical-laden deodorant or anti-perspirant? Let your pits do what they are meant to do. I only use a crystal deodorant -the clear crystal stick thing that you moisten with water. Another benefit is that my fragrance-free deodorant doesn’t compete with my perfume!
Eye, neck or ‘special area’ cream The same moisturizer you use on the rest of your body!
Remember; every inch of your skin has the same needs when it comes to skin-care products. Paula Begoun, cosmetics specialist, explains why eye cream is useless. This pisses me off, cosmetics companies! Remember; these companies know that a lot of people are self-conscious about bags under their eyes, so it’s ‘ka-ching!’. Eye cream is the same as moisturizer, but double the price and one-fifth the size! The same goes for neck/decolletage cream. I rub coconut oil on my body and it gives me soft, supple skin that smells like biscuits!
Face cleanser (many) A gentle cleanser. I love the oil cleansing method.
A lot of face cleansers contain harsh, drying ingredients that are harmful to your skin. There are gentle and effective cleaners out there though. I’m a fan of Neutrogena and Paula’s Choice myself. But… I have found that my results are just as good if I simply use coconut oil to remove makeup. I switched to the oil cleansing method a few months ago when I ran out of Paula’s Choice cleaner and I love, love, love it!
Face Mask Honey, yogurt, berries, avocado…
And you can lick it off when it drips :) I’m not saying all commercial face masks are bad, but just read the ingredients list and ask yourself what these ingredients might be doing to your skin. Even if they are not harmful, it doesn’t mean they are actually doing any good. You can definitely save money by just making one in your kitchen! Here are some recipes from the epic WellnessMama.
Foot mask Gimme a break.
Just moisturize. Try this: get some coconut oil and a pair of soft cotton socks. Get into bed, rub the oil on your feet and then put on the socks. Go to sleep and wake up to soft tootsies! If you have more time, soak your feet in warm water with epsom salts and then give them the coconut oil treatment.
Hair ‘hot oil’ treatments & serum Coconut-, olive- or amla oil
Some of the oils for sale in your salon might be good for your hair. But plain ol’ coconut-, olive- or amla oil is most likely just as good for your hair and definitely much better for your wallet. When I rub coconut oil on my scalp and through my tresses and leave it on for at least an hour before washing, my hair feels uh-ma-zing! So incredibly soft!
Hand cream See eye cream.
No matter what cosmetics companies want you to believe; the skin on your hands doesn’t require anything else than the rest of your skin!
Intimate wipes & moist toiletpaper Nothing!
Just don’t use this stuff, it’s full of harmful crap you don’t need. And here’s why. Just another example of fear-based marketing strategies; manufacturers would love for you to think that you’re dirty by nature and need their product to get laid.
Most ‘lifting’, ‘firming’, ‘anti-aging’ or other ‘miracle-youth-restoring- creams A really good moisturiser.
From the research I’ve done, most anti-aging creams are basically the same as moisturisers, but with a “magic ingredient” (meaning there’s no science to back up the often ridiculous claims) that will make us look 20 years younger). The only way to prevent wrinkles is to take good care of yourself inside & out and don’t over-expose yourself to sunlight. Beautypedia explains what any good moisturiser needs; antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, cell-communicating ingredients and sunscreen (for daytime) and a formula that suits your skin.
Lip exfoliator Just apply a (natural!) lip balm every now and then.
When I say natural, I mean lip balms with coconut oil or jojoba oil bases and without essential oils. Be sure to look at the list of natural ingredients to avoid below before you buy. Should your lips still be chapped, brush your lips gently with your toothbrush once a day.
Shampoo & conditioner Shampoo: 1 tbsp baking soda per 1 cup of water. Conditioner: 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar per 1 cup of water. Guys, I can’t even begin to describe how happy I am that I found this recipe. My hair feels amazing, perfectly clean and my wallet is happy too :)
Toners containing alcohol or witch hazel A well-formulated toner or else skip this step.
A good toner contains skin-repairing substances, cell-repairing ingredients and anti-oxidants. Read more about it at Beautypedia.

TIP!
buy these in bulk for massive long-term savings:

  • (Apple cider) vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Castile soap
  • Coconut oil

Why natural isn’t necessarily better

Great to smell, bad for skin

Great to smell, bad for your skin!

Now, I might have scared you into staying away from all things synthetic, but…

not everything that’s natural is automatically good and not everything that’s synthetic is automatically bad.

Many essential oils and fragrances made from plants are pretty crap for your skin. Did you know that lavender, a common ingredient in many creams & lotions, is actually a proven irritant to your skin? Here are some common other skin care ingredients to avoid like the plague as listed by Paula Begoun, who knows her science.

Common Irritating Ingredients to Avoid

(These are of greatest concern when they appear in the beginning of an ingredient list)

  • SD Alcohol (also known as denatured alcohol)
  • Ammonia
  • Arnica
  • Balm mint
  • Balsam
  • Benzalkonium chloride
  • Benzyl alcohol
  • Bergamot
  • Camphor
  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus juices and oils
  • Clove
  • Clover blossom
  • Coriander
  • Essential oils
  • Ethanol
  • Eucalyptus
  • Eugenol
  • Fennel
  • Fennel oil
  • Fir needle
  • Fragrance
  • Geranium
  • Grapefruit
  • Horsetail
  • Isoeugenol
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Lime
  • Linalool
  • Marjoram
  • Melissa (lemon balm)
  • Menthol
  • Menthoxypropanediol
  • Menthyl Acetate
  • Mint
  • Oak bark
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Peppermint
  • Phenol
  • Sandalwood oil
  • Sodium C14-16 olefin sulfate
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • TEA-lauryl sulfate
  • Thyme
  • Wintergreen
  • Witch hazel
  • Ylang-ylang

Never, ever forget that skin care product manufacturers are not (primarily) interested in helping you. They are interested in getting their hands on your money. If you keep that in mind next time you go to the shops, it’ll be much easier to not fall for marketing mumbo-jumbo and sales slogans!

Link

Even with so much content I consume on the internet daily, every now and then I come across an article on the internet that slaps me in the face with helpful truth. One of these I just have to share with you.

It’s a tough-love lesson that can make you a happier, more fulfilled person… if you let it. The writer uses his own experiences and entertaining parables to get his point across. And get across it did! Check it out:

>>6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person<<

Warning: Site is geared towards 20-something men, so expect strong NSFW language

Mom’s 30-day Paleo challenge – day 14

30days_paleo_chart

Handy Paleo food flowchart showing what you can and can’t eat. My mom isn’t taking her challenge this strict, but enough to reap the benefits of cleaner eating.

I spoke to my mom on Skype the other day and noticed how good her skin looked. So supple and smooth! I asked her for an update of her 30-day Paleo eating challenge and this is what I got. Funny she’s noticed the difference in her skin as well! Seems like the Paleo way of eating is difficult but rewarding, just like it is for me!

20th of December, day 14
I’ve been feeling crappy all week due to a nasty cold. Head full of snot, sore throat, sore ears and a red nose from blowing it so much. Even today it’s not much better… but luckily it’s not any worse either. I didn’t lose any more weight last week. But I do notice that I feel fuller for longer, I don’t get as many cravings. And my skin looks better, smoother than before. With Christmas around the corner, temptation to cheat on my challenge keeps knocking on the door, but so far; I’ve stayed on track.

For Christmas breakfast at work I was asked to pick up fresh bread from the baker’s. My goodness, the heavenly smell of fresh-baked bread! There I was with my smoothie and a hard-boiled egg around which I wrapped a delicious slice of ham. I’m proud of myself that I didn’t give in to the temptation to eat bread, because I would have felt like crap afterwards.

I’m curious what’s gonna be on the menu on Christmas day. We booked a Christmas special at a hotel in Hengelo. I hope they have some options without gluten and refined sugar.

I’m sure this week will be awesome!

The Awesome Smoothie Blueprint

Banana, date & chocolate smoothie. Yummmm

Banana, date & chocolate smoothie. Yummmm

Smoothies are liquid awesomeness. A blender is like a blank canvas and what you put in it is a reflection of your creativity. No two smoothies are the same!

That’s why I don’t want to give you a smoothie recipe, but a blueprint. Just follow these general guidelines and fill in the details yourself.

Open your fridge & pantry, whip out some ingredients and have fun experimenting!

The Awesome Smoothie Blueprint

  • 1 to 2 cups of base liquid
    • Water is the best low-cal option and IMHO best for smoothies containing lots of veggies. Coconut water & milk and almond milk make fantastic bases. If using coconut milk, I add no more than 1 cup, because it is high in fat. If it needs more liquid, I just top up with water. I personally don’t use dairy, but if you do, only use them in smoothies that don’t include vegetables.
  • 1 to 2 handfuls of leafy greens
    • Leafy greens such as spinach, chard, lettuce (not iceberg) and kale are nutrition powerhouses. There’s a damn good reason Popeye ate spinach for strength! If you’re new to the whole green smoothie thing, start off with 1 handful of spinach and work your way up to more veggies and less fruit for a healthier smoothie. And keep in mind that kale is one of the healthiest foods on this planet, but… let’s just say it’s for ‘advanced’ level smoothie lovers.
  • 1 to 2 handfuls of fruit
    • Beautiful bananas, precious peaches, super strawberries… I love them all! It’s tempting to just chuck heaps of fruit in your blender, but try to limit yourself to 1 handful. Bananas and avocados make delightfully creamy smoothies while berries and lemon (juice) are more refreshing. It’s all about what you choose to combine it with! See below for smoothie combo ideas.
  • Add superfoods & supplements
    • Now here’s where you can get really creative. Try adding a handful of almonds or a Tbsp of chia seeds, flaxseeds, bee pollen, nut butter, (raw) cocoa powder, maca root, or mineral/vitamin supplements (if you’re deficient). Just play around, but do look at the label of whatever you want to add and keep an eye on portion sizes. Only take supplements after discussing your needs with a health professional.

Winning Smoothie Combos

Just add a leafy green of your choice!

  • Banana, dates & cocoa powder
  • Banana & berries
  • Lemon & blueberries
  • Mango, coconut & lime
  • Orange & mint
  • Pineapple & ginger
  • Strawberries & coconut

Look at this amazing visual library of green smoothie recipes for more ideas!

Why a smoothie is the perfect breakfast food

  • It’s a great way to eat your leafy greens.
    You’ll barely taste them (except maybe kale :)) -because adding fruit will give it that nice sweet flavour- and eating them raw you’ll get the most nutritional benefit.
  • They’re a great choice for busy people
    Grab a blender. Add a liquid, fruit and some veggies, nuts or supplements. Blend. Drink. That’s it. Chuck it into a cup with a lid and you have a breakfast on the go.
  • They’re endlessly versatile
    Most fruits and veggies lend themselves to blending quite well. So just experiment! Beets and carrots are not ideal in my opinion, they are better suited to juicing. I like to add superfoods & supplements like bee pollen, maca root, chia seeds, flaxseed, cinnamon, etc. It’s a creative outlet for me and I feel invigorated when I “invent” a new recipe. Too bad I usually forget what the heck I did to make it so awesome :)

What will you make for breakfast tomorrow?

Mom’s 30-day Paleo challenge – part 2 + recipe

Today is my mother’s birthday so Happy Birthday Mom!
She’s on day 4 of her Paleo challenge and is already losing a bit of weight and has a new perspective on her daily food intake. Read about it in her second blog post:

11th December 2013
Day four of my challenge.

Snuck onto the scale even though I said I would wait until day 7 of my challenge. I am now 79.9kg, so I lost 1.3kg. 

My daughter gave me a book, “Hello Paleo” and I decided to try all the breakfast recipes. Simply to discover what I like and what I don’t like. Often I have enough left of my breakfast to take to work for lunch. It takes some getting used to not to make make a sandwich (Because Paleo = no grains). Now I really have to think about a healthy lunch and a yummy snack for breaks. The good thing is that my co-workers ask to have a bite and sometimes ask for recipes. Today, I handed out the recipe of Paleo truffles; balls made of dates and mixed raw nuts, then rolled in cacao powder or dried coconut flakes. 

Birthday package

Healthy food package for my birthday

Birthday Surprise
I received a surprise today: a package with all kinds of organic products! Coconut oil, stevia, raw chocolate, Celtic sea salt and more. A birthday present from my daughter. How special, a daughter who ‘guides’ her mother on the path to a healthier life. 

This package is an extra bit of motivation to keep going, despite the skepticism of some of the people around me. 

Tomorrow I turn 55, that’s closer to 60 then to 50. But who knows, maybe I’ll be feeling better than ever before.

To be continued…

The recipe for Paleo truffles mentioned above is something similar to one I made up myself a few months back. Give ‘em a try; they’re a great way to give you some quick energy, fill that sweet tooth and make you feel good because you had a healthy snack!

Click to enlarge

My mom’s 30-day challenge to kick pain to the curb

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My mom and me in Kalbarri, Australia, April 2013. Here she was already in the pain that would ultimately lead to hip replacement surgery.

My mom, Jannie, is amazing. I adore her. It’s been hard to watch her deal with severe pain in her back and hips for as long as I can remember. She’s had that pain for most of her life, but in the past few years it’s gotten worse. Earlier this year her hip got so bad that she couldn’t even get out of bed by herself anymore, let alone put on her shoes. In September of this year, at only 54, she got a new hip. Recovering from the surgery hasn’t been easy and now, three months later, there is still a lot of pain she didn’t expect. And as most of us who have made a health change know; when you’re not feeling well, you get motivated to make lifestyle changes! And that’s exactly what she’s doing; inspired by my efforts to regain my health, she has set out on a 30 day health challenge to see if she can decrease some of the pain and feel good in her own skin again. I couldn’t be more proud and so I asked her to contribute to my blog during her challenge. Here is her first post! I translated it into English and am gonna cheer her on and send positive vibes her way. I hope you’ll join me!

A challenge to regain my wellbeing

Today is Saturday the 7th of December. For the umpteenth time I woke up because my body is in pain. I get cramps with every move I make and my mind is tired, because I didn’t get enough sleep… not enough by far.

By now I know quite a bit about nutrition and what it does for your health, thanks to my daughter who’s been studying it for years now. She tells me exactly what you need when you’re not feeling well or worse, downright sick.

I’ve tried some gluten-free and Paleo recipes and I have to admit it all tastes delicious so far. I notice that the people around me, co-workers and friends, are becoming more and more aware of the link between nutrition and health. That makes my decision easier.

So what is my decision?

For 30 days I’ll be eating a Paleo diet as much as possible. Paleo means eating like our caveman ancestors; no grains, added sugars or processed foods. OK, I will have a potato, some rice or a glass of wine every now and then, but I’m staying away from everything that contains gluten, added sugars and processed foods with preservatives and additives.

How I started
I removed all pasta and pre-made sauce packets from my pantry. I gave the pasta away to someone who can put it to good use. Then I made a list of all the ingredients I’ll need for the next month, like goji berries, raw nuts, raisins and linseed. I was surprised to find all I needed at the local market! And also surprised that the local health food store had some great advice for me. They even had a tasting plate with healthy snacks and printed out some recipes for me.

New beginnings
The scales told me I’m 81.2kg today. I’ll get back on them in one week. I’m curious whether I will have lost any weight, although that’s not my priority. I want to feel good in my own skin again… My body has been through too much in the past few years. It’s time for a change!

Creating vs. Consuming

How to consume less, save $$$ on useless products and why you should create more!

Retail therapy Source: nymag.com

Retail therapy? American shoppers at Black Friday sales
Source: nymag.com

I hate it when companies use the word ‘consumers’ to describe you and me. Like we aren’t unique people, we’re just nameless beings with an open wallet. Jerry Seinfeld once joked about commercials for OTC medicines; “you always see a silhouette of a guy, no face, mouth open, this is how drug companies see the public.”

Creepy, but true.

Life Purpose
I admit, I sometimes feel lost. I want to do some good in the world, but I haven’t ‘found’ my direction yet. What is that elusive life purpose? I think most people of my generation feel this way. We’re all looking for that magical life purpose that will make us feel fulfilled… We work, socialize & buy stuff, but there’s something missing. What is that something? Could it be that we do too much consuming and not enough creating?

History of Creation
When is the last time you actually made something with your own hands? I’m talking something other than last night’s dinner ;) It wasn’t too long ago that we humans made lots by hand. We had to. Women made bread from scratch (plant wheat, let it grow, harvest, dry, grind, make dough & bake), men built their marital bed from the wood they chopped with their own hands (well… and an axe). These days, we let faceless companies make our food, toys, furniture and clothes from scratch. We don’t feel connected to the things we put in and around our bodies or to the people who make them… probably some poor chick in China who sleeps on top of the conveyor belt after her 18 hour shift…

sleeping mask

‘Look ma, I made it!’
It looks homemade for sure, but I’m still pretty proud that this came from my hands :D

The Art of Homemade
I believe that creating gives us a sense of fulfillment that consuming never can. When I give a friend a homemade cake or bag, I feel more connected to my friend. And the response I get tells me they understand the “added value” of an object that is the result of my thoughts of him/her combined with the time invested. It’s not that a homemade gift is any more useful than something store-bought -and in my case the gifts are definitely not better looking-, but it has value of another kind.

It’s in our nature to channel our creativity and make it into something we can see or feel. If we don’t, if we spend our time watching mind-numbing TV or cat videos, we get too much time to think. And I don’t know about you, but for me that’s not a good thing. When a bad thought pops into my mind and I have nothing to do to occupy my thoughts, it goes on repeat and it becomes a downward spiral.

Necessities of life?

Ad for 'intimate wipes' Tagline: 'a clean beaver always finds more wood' Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

Ad for ‘intimate wipes’
Tagline: ‘a clean beaver always finds more wood’…
Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Do we really need all the things we think we need? If we believe commercials, we need 4-ply tissues with aloe vera, and special lotions for each part of our body… I’ve worked in media for many years, I know what is used to sell you products: sex & fear. Without <insert brand here> deodorant, the girls won’t shag you and without ‘intimate wipes’, the boys will not come within 3 ft of your nether regions… But have you considered that maybe you don’t need half of the stuff you’ve been told you need? That we humans have been doing just fine without deodorant and intimate wipes for many, many generations? That in fact those very products can be bad for our health?

Useless products

Because getting the slicer, putting the strawberry in there, removing the slices and cleaning the slicer is so much easier than just cutting it with a knife... Source: http://socialmarketplace.wordpress.com

Because getting the slicer, putting the strawberry in there, removing the slices and cleaning the slicer is so much easier than just cutting it with a knife… right?
Source: http://socialmarketplace.wordpress.com

Did you know that the skin around your eyes requires exactly the same care that the rest of your face does? And that the simple, cheap-ass combination of vinegar and baking soda is just as -or more- effective than expensive, harsh cleaners? Just keep this one truth in mind the next time you’re at the store: manufacturers do not care about your well-being, they care about making money. If you remember that and you limit your exposure to advertising as much as possible, you take the power back that you gave to companies. That’s when you start realizing that you can benefit your health and your wallet by never buying over-priced, unnecessary items ever again!

Here are some of the body care products you can stop buying:

Stop buying Replace with
Anti-cellulite cream Save your pennies; this stuff doesn’t work. They’re just preying on your insecurities to get your money.
If you want to lose your cellulite, losing weight & exercising are the only things that can work.
Body lotion Coconut or jojoba oil. Simple and good for you.
Eye & neck cream The same moisturizer you use on the rest of your face
Read why eye cream is useless
Face Mask Honey, yogurt, berries, avocado… And you can lick it off when it drips :)
I’m not saying all commercial face masks are bad, but you can definitely save money by just making one in your kitchen!
Here are some recipes from the epic WellnessMama.
Foot mask Gimme a break. Just moisturize.
Try this: get some coconut oil and a pair of soft cotton socks. Get into bed, rub the oil on your feet and then put on the socks. Go to sleep and wake up to soft tootsies!
Intimate wipes & moist toiletpaper Nothing! Just don’t use this stuff, it’s full of chemicals your body doesn’t need.
And here’s why
Kitchen & bathroom cleaning products Baking soda, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, Borax, castile soap & essential oils. You can make almost any cleaner with these ingredients.
Green cleaner recipes
Lip exfoliator Just apply a (natural!) lip balm every now and then. Should your lips still be chapped, brush your lips gently with your toothbrush in the morning.
Shampoo & conditioner Shampoo: 1 tbsp baking soda per 1 cup of water.
Conditioner: 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar per 1 cup of water.Guys, I can’t even begin to describe how happy I am that I found this recipe. My hair feels amazing, perfectly clean and my wallet is happy. Also, what do sodium laureth sulfate, parabens, fragrance and all the other mystery ingredients of hair care products do to our skin? Let’s stop believing cosmetics companies saying we need their products to be shiny & happy. We don’t!
Toner Just skip this step in your cleaning routine; your skin doesn’t need this.

Buy in bulk:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Castile soap
  • Coconut oil

There, I just saved you hundreds of $$$. You’re welcome :)

Less fake, more fun!

From now on this blog will have a new name; defaking.com.

Defaking is a word I made up. For me, it encompasses getting rid of some fake sh*t in my life and replacing it with sh*t that has roots in nature. Why? Because fake sucks and natural is usually better for us. It’s like comparing a cheap Frankenmeat hotdog to a grass-fed steak. Which one do you think is better for your health? No contest, right? It makes a lot of sense to do things the way they have been done for thousands of years. We’ve evolved with certain foods, surroundings and habits. It’s in our blood. The more I read and think about it, the more I’m convinced that some the wonderful and not-so-wonderful additions to our modern lives are taking us away from health and well-being. Even some of the things that are meant to make us happier.

New direction
I changed the name of my blog from 30daysofgrowth.com to defaking.com so I can write about my efforts to live a more natural life in every way. And also because I feel I can’t commit to a series of 30-day challenges. I’m just too scatterbrained! My head is overflowing with ideas and recipes for a better life, but they simply won’t fit into a strictly regimented 30-day format. I learned from my challenges and now it is time to continue the quest for a richer life in a less constricted way.

I chose the name Defaking.com, because I noticed that all my ideas for challenges were food and wellness centered. And the outcome of all my brilliant (ahem) research and thinking came down to the same basic principle: for a better, healthier life, we need to drop some of our modern unnatural foods and habits.

So come with me as I discover a way of life that’s closer to something my ancestors would recognize!