Starting over in Spring: The Japanese art of Kaizen

Uncategorized Oct 19, 2021

Just like Spring cleaning is a yearly routine for many, cleansing the body and re-establishing healthy habits at this time of year is a long-held tradition, coaxing our sluggish bodies back into balance after Winter.

However, clearly this is no ordinary Spring! We’re at the tail end of an unprecedented ordeal and now blessed with the prospect of regaining some sense of normalcy and long-awaited freedom.

The hardship endured by many in the face of extended lockdowns and the hefty toll it took on people’s health mean that there’s an even greater need for some restorative Springtime rituals this year.

I’ve spoken with one too many friends who are mentally exhausted, depressed and physically out of shape, with their health having taken a back seat in favour of mere survival. They’ve made dedicated attempts to get back on track, only to fall off the wagon. I’d hazard a guess that the most people are in the same boat.

We’re spent. And it’s...

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Rewriting the story: 'I don’t have time to cook'

kitchen stories Jul 07, 2021

This is the second part in our six-week series on the counterproductive stories we tell ourselves in the kitchen – those hurdles that mess with our mojo and prevent us from enjoying the process of cooking. This week we’re hearing from Danielle Abell from Lick The Plates and examining the belief that we ‘don’t have time’.

Danielle Abell

Lockdown is an interesting time to think about time, because no matter what's going on in your household, we're looking at everything through a different lens.

Do you feel like you have enough time for anything? Probably not! Well, let me tell you: It’s not true. We’ve been spun to believe this lie that tells us we don’t have enough time.

It comes down to priorities and being present and grateful with whatever we are doing, without worrying that we won’t have time, or stressing that we didn’t get enough done.

The reality is that our lives are very full and cooking has dropped down the...

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How’s your kitchen mojo?

kitchen stories Jun 30, 2021

What thoughts come to mind when you think about cooking? Does it bring up feelings of overwhelm? Pressure? Joy? Creativity? Sustenance? Duty? When you think about eating, do your thoughts turn to enjoyment and pleasure or do you often find yourself subconsciously categorising your diet into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods?

We’re diving headfirst into new territory, here on the blog. For the next six weeks I’ll be teaming up with Danielle Abell from Lick The Plates and exploring the often self-imposed barriers that mess with our kitchen mojo – either sabotaging our efforts to cook or simply preventing us from enjoying the process as much as we’d like.

The stories we tell ourselves

If you are the primary cook in your family, you’re likely preparing many meals each week and making countless decisions about those meals each day.

Have you ever really stopped to examine the subconscious thoughts and beliefs you have around cooking and eating?...

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Traditional foods for postpartum nourishment

birth postpartum May 17, 2021

This week, in our birth series, we’re delving into the topic of postpartum nourishment with a discussion of recovery nutrition.

The idea of setting aside several weeks or more for postpartum recovery has been standard practice worldwide for many thousands of years. An Ayurvedic text dating back to 400 BCE states that “a new mother should be treated with massage, warm baths, a specific diet and herbal drinks that prevent infection and promote vitality”.

Some cultures believe that if women are neglected during the postpartum period, the adverse effects can remain into her menopausal years and beyond.

Healing in the postpartum period

From a logical perspective, it’s clear that there are significant shifts going on during this period, however far too many of us underestimate the impact of these changes on the new mother and consequently, our expectations during this time are often mismatched.

All women in the postpartum period are effectively healing many...

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Orgasmic birth: the ultimate perk of homebirth

home birth orgasmic birth May 12, 2021

Following on from last week's piece on the safety of homebirth and the primary advantages of birthing at home such as lowered intervention and risk of complications, this week I’m elaborating on some of the lesser known benefits of homebirth. There’s a much greater chance of having not only a positive birth experience at home, but one that is profoundly pleasurable – even orgasmic!

Stay with me, we’ll get to that part shortly.

The significant impact of care providers

According to surveys conducted in homebirth forums of women who have experienced birthing in both a hospital and home setting, there is an overwhelming consensus that homebirth is a more enjoyable experience – not just for the birthing woman but for her partner and other family members as well, who are generally fully included in every step of the process, if they so choose.

Women routinely report that they feel more respected and empowered, as homebirth offers a more woman-centred...

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The untold benefits of homebirth

birth homebirth May 03, 2021

We’re midway through a series on birth and this week I’m addressing the topic of homebirth. As someone who was lucky enough to birth two children at home, this is the information – or at least a small portion of it – that I wish I’d had access to before embarking on my homebirth journey.

You may remember Noni Hazelhurst’s 2016 Logies hall of fame induction speech where she mentioned that the greatest joys of her life to date were the homebirths of her two sons. I watched that speech having had my first taste of homebirth only a few months prior and was happy to see a moment of public recognition for such a misunderstood and sadly, taboo topic.

Understanding homebirth

Due to our cultural bias towards medicalised birth in this country, the decision to birth at home with a private midwife was not one I could take lightly at the outset. Approximately 0.3% of births take place this way in Australia and only 0.1% in New South Wales. Whilst the rates are...

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Central Coast farmers markets: your guide to shopping supermarket-free

If you’ve never ventured outside of the supermarket for your food on a regular basis, it can be quite a daunting transition at the outset, especially if you don’t know what the alternatives are. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been discussing the myriad of benefits that come with purchasing the bulk of your food in season from local producers and this week we’re focusing on how to change up your shopping habits.

If you’re reading this as a Central Coast resident, rest assured that this transition might be easier than you’d think. You may not have even been aware of the fact that we are living in a food bowl! Unbeknownst to many locals, we’re surrounded by passionate small-scale farmers in the fertile coast hinterland who are producing some of the best quality produce and animal products right at our doorstep.

Here are some of the options available as you start to think outside the supermarket aisles.

Central Coast farmers markets


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Getting started with seasonal eating

In last week’s column we explored some of the benefits associated with seasonal eating. This week we’re focusing on how to gradually master the process.

It’s ironic that reacquainting ourselves with such a simple, age-old tradition can require some initial effort. Before the development of such efficient global transport systems, seasonal and local foods were the only ones on offer.

After only a few decades of relying on supermarkets for our food, we’ve lost touch with the knowledge and skills required to eat this way. Most people no longer possess any awareness of which foods are in season or even an inherent understanding of the fact that most produce and even many animal foods, do in fact have a season!

We’ve been sold the idea that we can have whatever we want all year round, when this is not how nature works. Supermarkets perpetuate this illusion by responding to consumer demand for apples, oranges and bananas every single day of the year.

If we...

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The untold benefits of seasonal eating

As we move into Autumn, I thought it might be nice to take this, my second favorite seasonal transition of the year (nothing beats Winter to Spring!), as an opportunity to explore the untold benefits of seasonal eating.

Once upon a time, I had no idea where my food came from, other than knowing the location of the supermarket and the shelf I found it on. The concept of seasonal eating was merely a romantic notion that conjured up visions of pumpkin or apple pie in Autumn.

When I started on my journey to get closer to the source of where my food came from, I had no way to fathom the transformation that lay ahead. It’s been life-changing, let me tell you!

Seasonal and local eating has become one of the most important pieces of health advice that I can offer people. It’s central to everything I teach about food and nutrition. If you were to focus solely on this one idea, striving to eat seasonally, sourcing from local producers, it has the power to transform not only your...

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Soul food: my dairy-free chocolate mud cream

We’re midway through a six-part guide to feeling good. Thus far, we’ve explored the importance of breathing, sleep, rest, pleasure, human connection and this week we’re focusing on ‘soul’ food.

Now, before we get into all the chocolatey details, I want to talk a little about the importance of soul food from my perspective.

Having spent a couple of decades in search of the best diet for humans and in the process, experimented with the bulk of the dietary and detox protocols out there, I can tell you firsthand that overly restrictive eating isn’t the best path to feeling good.

Naturally, eating well is important, however for some, it can be a slippery slope to becoming obsessive or fixated on compartmentalising foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

The importance of soul food

One thing I’ve come to know is that soul food, whether it’s homemade or even the processed store-bought variety (gasp!), is an extremely important...

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