Supercharged Vegetarian Salad (and a note about food sustainability)

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I’ve grown up in a family which eats a lot of meat. My dad especially loooves his meat. He always sources very nice free range meat and, benefitting from the fact that I still live at home, I am so lucky to have access to such good food beautifully prepared by him most evenings. As a matter of fact, my cousins live on a cattle farm in France which explains why my dad loves his red meat so much!

However, I am well aware of the fact that the world is currently undergoing a food sustainability crisis. I’ve actually done a bit of work for Oxfam as part of a university assignment which focused around this issue of food security. In a nutshell: first-world countries eat too much and source their food in an unsustainable manner by importing and exporting way too many products, wasting an unbelievable amount of food and unsustainably growing certain plants/fruits/veggies which has serious negative environmental impacts on the planet. We simply cannot keep going the way we are. If we do then soon enough there will be no food left and our environment will be a wreck (even more than it already is…)

So… I do try to moderate my consumption of meat because I know that if every person on the planet ate as much meat as my dad does then we would be in big trouble (no offence dad). Unfortunately, I am not vegetarian because I love my protein way too much and feel that my body struggles without it. Nevertheless, I have a small amount of animal protein only once a day and then have no animal protein at all once or twice a week. I know it’s not much but I feel that a small step is better than nothing. For both sustainable and health reasons I try to vary my animal protein intake, for example, mix it up between fish, red meat, poultry and crustaceans. I also pay attention to where I get my animal protein from and avoid getting food which I know is unsustainably sourced (yet I must admit that it’s not always that easy to find out these things).

I would highly recommend checking out Oxfam’s GROW campaign which provides heaps of ideas on how to eat in a more sustainable manner. Here’s the GROW method at a glance:

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Anyway, here’s the recipe for a supercharged (as in super healthily charged) vegetarian salad:

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P.s: this salad was made from left overs in my fridge – again, trying to minimise waste and eat more sustainably!

Ingredients:

  • Salad leaves (I used spinach and steamed kale but you could also use lettuce or rocket for example!).
  • Two poached eggs (method on how to easily make perfectly poached eggs can be found here).
  • Cherry tomatoes (cut up into small quarters).
  • Handful of cut up cucumber.
  • 1/4 of an avocado (thinly cut).
  • Sprinkle of goats cheese (feta, halloumi or ricotta could also work here).
  • Dressing: roughly 2 parts olive oil, 1 part apple cider vinegar, 1 part mustard.

Method:

  1. Cook your poached eggs (takes 3-4 minutes)
  2. While the eggs are cooking mix all your ingredients together in a bowl (don’t forget a bit of dressing).
  3. Add the poached eggs.

So easy! You can even prepare this salad in the morning and bring it to work for a very healthy and real tasty vegetarian meal. I find that this salad has a perfect mix of greens, healthy fat and flavour. If you’re lucky enough to have the day off like I did then enjoy eating this delish salad along with a very good book like ‘Eat, Pray and Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert.

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Note: Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar Book really inspires me and I often base my meals upon it (link to the I Quit Sugar blog here). Even though this book might sound like a silly ‘diet’ book it really isn’t anything like it. On the contrary, Sarah Wilson writes a lot about ways to minimise food waste as part of her overarching food sustainability vision and she discourages dieting, opting for simple well-balanced meals incorporating healthy fat, greens,protein and a small amount of carbs (and obviously, given the title of her book, avoiding sugar). I like the way she writes. I have one book of hers and it has an endless amount of yummy recipes which I love to play around with. Give it a try and you might find you like it too!

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Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

With love,

Camille.

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Downtown Kettle Town!

Attention tea-lovers. I have some fabulous news for you: it’s called Kettle Town.

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Kettle Town is a newly established tea business based in Sydney. What I love the most about Kettle Town is their diversity. Have a look at their tea collection online and you will be stunned by the the range of flavours available to order. Whether you are a traditional black tea lover, or you enjoy sipping on a herbal tea, or maybe you are more found of a fresh iced-tea on a hot summer day (my personal favourite) – either way, Kettle Town has got you covered.

But it doesn’t stop here. What attracted me to this tea brand so much is the quality of their ingredients combined with their beautiful packaging. The tea can be ordered online which is super easy for busy people and who doesn’t love receiving a cute package in their letter box once in a while? I certainly do! The tea is also stocked in a few places around sydney.

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Today I would like to focus on Kettle Town’s new iced-tea collection which particularly appeals to me because this is a cold brew range. I had the pleasure of trying the Eclectic Orange (orange, hibiscus, apple) and the Perfect Peach (oolong, peach, rose) flavours. Recipes containing suggestions of which fruit to add to each iced-tea are provided on Kettle Town’s website which is also really great!

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Cold brew tea is ridiculously easy to make. All you need is to follow these simple steps:

  • Add 4 teaspoons of loose tea in one litre of chilled filtered water in a pitcher.
  • Steep overnight in fridge.
  • Strain tea from water the next morning and serve on ice cubes and with added fruits if desired.

For instant tea:

  • Bring 250 ml water to boil.
  • Add 4 teaspoons of loose tea and steep for 5 minutes.
  • Strain leaves from hot water, add a cup full of ice cubes with 500 ml cold water then serve.

My thoughts on Kettle Town’s Iced-Tea?

I love it. I love the fresh, delicate tea leaves and ingredients which are used. I love the smell and taste of the tea. I love the convenience of being able to order the tea online. And finally, I love the way the tea allows one to make a completely refined sugar-free drink which is very tasty, refreshing and healthy!

Eclectic Orange

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This iced-tea is a light and tangy refreshing drink combining the eclectic flavours of orange, hibiscus and apple. Sipping on this cold drink is very refreshing and provides a beautiful alternative to unhealthy, sugary drinks. The iced-tea is best served with thin slices of lemon and orange along with a sprinkle of mint. I would suggest serving this tea around lunch time or for afternoon tea. Prepare a large jug as it is likely to be finished quickly!

Note: Kettle Town suggests adding a dash of good quality gin to this tea for entertainment. I haven’t had a chance to give it a try but that does sound very appealing!!

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Perfect Peach

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Perfect Peach contains oolong leaves as well as hints of rose and apple. This blend has a stronger tea taste than Eclectic Orange which brings a very calm and soothing sensation. I enjoyed drinking this iced-tea with pieces of fresh pineapple and peach which added a bit of natural sweetness to the drink. I find this tea very tropical which left me feeling fresh and detoxed! You could try adding some passionfruit to lift the flavours even more and give it an extra boost of sweetness and tanginess!

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I can’t wait to try more of Kettle Town’s tea range, that’s for sure…

The Gift of Loving

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I am finally on summer vacation!! Hoorayyy! Not only does that mean more sunshine, it also means more time for blogging :) Yes, I must admit that Uni really did creep up on me last semester so I gave my blog a bit of a break but now I am back on!

So today I would like to write about ‘the gift of loving’. So… what do I mean by that?

Well, you see, the past few weeks have been very busy for my family and I. While end of semester exams completely drowned me with uni work, my parents have been incredibly occupied with their respective businesses. Everyone goes through really busy periods like these. Times where we have so much on that we can start to feel a bit lost and overwhelmed. We become so busy that we are afraid to stop working on what it is we are trying to achieve because we feel guilty for taking ‘time off’.

This is where things can go wrong (and this is where my blog post comes in).

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I have come to understand that it is precisely during these busy times that we need to take a moment to reflect and breathe. It is actually crucial for us to do that and, in my opinion, it is the key to success. Don’t get me wrong here, I am NOT a professional in that domain, I am actually very much a learner still. Nevertheless, I can talk from my experiences and I’d love to share some of my sentiments with you. Everyone is different and I cannot prescribe the perfect ‘breather’ solution to remedy the risk of overloading during busy times, however, I can provide some ideas.

For example, I like to take a moment to simply think about what I am grateful for. I do that on the bus, when I wake up, before going to sleep or whenever I get a moment to myself. I acknowledge all the simple little things that make me happy. This is something I learnt from a yoga class. I often reflect upon the way I am grateful for being in good health, for having a loving and caring family, for the place I live in, for the opportunity I have been given to study, etc. During difficult times it is easy to forget about all the things we are actually very grateful for. Simply reminding ourselves about them can go a long way.

I also like to take about 15 minutes to do a few stretches to relieve tension in my muscles which often intensify as a result of stress. I enjoy going for a walk or even a nice jog with my dog. I like turning off my computer and phone and just reading my book. There are so many little things like these which can give our mind a bit of a breather.

When I talk about to the ‘gift of loving’ I refer to the gift each one of us has, that is the ability to love. Love each other, love sensations that happen to us, love things that we see, love concepts and ideas, etc. I love giving small little gifts to the people I love. The other day I gave my parents a little desert each from a beautiful patisserie called Pattison’s. I felt that they needed some time to relax and enjoy a little treat as a reward for all the hard work they had put in the past few weeks. They were thrilled by the deserts and watching them happily talk about something other than work while tasting some beautiful chocolate mousse reminded me yet again that, yes, small things can certainly go a long way.

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So there you go, I encourage you to be grateful for the gift that each one of us has, that is simply, the ability to love. I encourage you to make use of such gift especially during the most busy times we all encounter because guess what? Once we do, everything seems a lot lighter and much more achievable.

Sydneysiders need to do the Spit to Manly Walk!

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Fellow Sydneysiders,

It has been a while since I’ve posted something on my blog. I apologise. I cannot say I have been so busy that I have not had one single opportunity to write. Saying that would be a lie. I have had a few moments here and there where I wanted to post something but for some strange reason I was finding it difficult to. Why? Because somehow, I could not seem to get the ball rolling and write away when I was starting a new blank document. I kept on doubting myself, feeling silly about what I was writing. I think that it may have had something to do with a commercial law assignment which I have been working on. As much as I enjoy studying law (as I love the way if frames my mind/thinking), I do find that it tends to hinder my creative flair (and because I am not naturally very creative, it can become an issue).

 

However, I recently fell upon a beautiful little post about the concept of ‘creativity’ by Hatrik – click here for the link. This post simply made me smile. It reminded me that every one has a sense of creativity delved into their souls no matter what form it may come in. Whether it be a musical talent, special skills with colours on a canvas, a good ear for lyrics, an attachment to literature, or simply a strong imagination (and the list could go on). So, instead of doubting myself as to the quality of what I wanted to write about, I just let my mind take me wherever it wanted to take me… which has lead me to writing this post.

 

Let me get back on track with the topic of this post: The Spit to Manly walk.

 

Growing up on the outskirts of Paris, I never really got a chance to go for long walks by the ocean on my weekends. Now that I have moved to Australia, the sea has become almost a drug for me! When I travel, I realise that not every city is as gifted as Sydney. Not every place on this planet allows you to get a breath of fresh air whenever you feel like it by simply walking along the beach. It is definitely something Sydney Siders should treasure because we are so lucky to have this opportunity.

 

The Spit to Manly is a particularly beautiful and entertaining walk. With a distance of 10km one way, waking down the path will allow you to observe beautiful surroundings and you might find that your mind starts to wonder. I recommend doing the walk with a friend, your dog, or your family (but doing it on your own can be very relaxing as well allowing to focus on yourself and maybe spend a bit more time looking around).

 

I have done the walk many times but recently I did it with a really good friend of mine and we talked so much I did not even feel that I was walking for such a long time. I also regularly run part of the walk with my dog (Kenzo). He loves it! There are some areas of the walk where I feel like it is just him and I and he often gets a chance to run in the sand and splash around in the water. Recently, Kenzo and I showed my siblings and my dad our little treasure and we did the full walk altogether. It was a great opportunity to talk and catch up with each other.

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Tips for the walk:

Take a small backpack with you as some items may just make the walk that little bit extra nice for you:

  • CAMERA! I guarantee you that you will stop (more than once) to capture the beautiful scenery you will be passing. The sunrise and sunset are particularly breathtaking.
  • Water bottle (if doing the walk on a warm day you will be thankful to have packed water – the walk can get a bit tough as there are many stairs in some parts of it. Note that there are also water stations along the way to fill up your bottle).
  • Picnic (there are a few areas that are very nice to stop at for a picnic, most notably Clontarf Beach, North Harbour Reserve and Esplanade Park).
  • Swimmers, goggles and a beach towel (the walk literally follows the coastline and there are plenty of different spots to go for a dip in the sea. Such a great way to refresh yourself and, if you’re lucky, you may spot beautiful fishes underwater!
  • Don’t rush it. Take a moment to observe the nature around you – it is beautiful.
  • Start from the Spit Bridge and walk towards Manly as once you will be in Manly there are many different places to go for brunch/lunch to reward yourself after a long walk. There are also many buses departing from Manly, which can bring you back to wherever you need to go.

 

Bellow are a few of my personal photos taken on the walk last week with my family:

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Afternoon snack idea

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Good afternoon!

This morning I went to one of the hardest gym classes I have ever done! Let’s face it though, one of the reasons for which I found it so difficult is probably because I am rather unfit due to my recent trip where I did not get the opportunity to train very much!! But that’s all good :) It’s kind of fun to push myself again and try to get fitter and eat healthier ;) Afterwards I went straight to uni where I had a very busy day.

Does anyone else feel that when they come home around 4-5pm from uni it’s often a time when you want a good snack? I certainly feel that way! Especially when I haven’t stopped moving the whole day. But the thing is you don’t want to fill up too much before dinner and you want to avoid grabbing an ice-cream, cookies or anything that is not quite the best for you when you have just worked your butt off at a gym class that morning!

I have the perfect answer to your question :) This snack will definitely satisfy your hunger and give you that extra boost of energy that you need to get back to your readings before having dinner, without making you feel guilty or fill you up too much.

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Ingredients:

– One piece of organic spelt & muesli crisp bread

(Note: I found these on the weekend at Harris Farm and I fell in love with them! They are rectangular thick crackers kind of things from the brand called Dr. Karg). I’m pretty sure you can find them from most supermarkets or in health stores/health aisles of supermarkets. Otherwise I also found a few websites where you can purchase them online: Organic Buyers Group  and The Happy Apple Greengrocer.)

– Peanut butter (preferably organic and with no added sugar or salt!)

– Chocolate buckinis

(Note: I used the brand LovingEarth’s new ‘Chocolate Buckinis – Activated and Raw Organic’ which is just a fabulous snack for those chocoholics like me. You can purchase it from health stores which stock LovingEarth products or you can also buy it online through the LovingEarth website. Warning: they are so addictive!!!)

– Coconut flakes

– Goji berries

– Roasted almonds

– Blueberries

Method:

Simply spread a bit of peanut butter on the slice of crisp bread (or any other nut butter like almond butter for example) and then sprinkle some chocolate buckinis and a few coconut flakes on top. You can then play around by adding goji berries or blueberries as you are eating your crisp bread.

Options:

If you’re not as hungry as I was and want a lighter snack then eliminate the crisp bread and just munch on a few almonds, goji berries and blueberries – they form such a good combination! You can also add banana to the crisp bread or you can use banana instead of the crisp bread. It is one of these snacks where you can let your imagination give you different inspirations.

Enjoy!

The Byron Surfer – insight into the power of yoga and mediation.

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I met one of the coolest guys today. At first sight, he looked like a typical Byron Bay surfer but this person was far from ordinary. I didn’t chat to him for very long but our conversation really stuck with me. I am not too sure how we came to have a rather deep conversation about yoga and wellness but we did… and it was great.

In the past year or so, and particularly recently, I have started to place a lot more importance on looking after myself by eating right and exercising well. As part of this, I began to really enjoy doing yoga and was introduced to meditation. I realized that yoga can do so much more than merely make your body feel better through stretches and different poses. Yoga and especially mediation can make you feel good through their effect on the MIND.

Talking to the Byron Bay surfer today very much exemplified this philosophy to me (I never actually caught his name hence why I am referring to him in this way). Without going too much into details, he suffered from cancer as he had a tumor in his stomach. Surfer boy underwent two sets of chemo-therapy treatments but sadly they did not help much. He felt like chemo-therapy was not the way to cure his illness so he took the decision to travel to India for six months. As part of his trip he did a great deal of mediation and yoga and, most importantly, he fasted for 26 days. He explained that his meditation sessions went for 3 to 4 hours. What is incredible is that this combination of practicing yoga and mediation as well as fasting actually CURED HIM.

When I heard this story I was stupefied. It seems that the power of mediation and simply taking care of your body through natural remedies can overpower advanced medical treatments. For this New Year I have set myself a few resolutions. One of them is to try to incorporate yoga and meditation more often during my weekly routines. Even if sometimes I can be very busy, simply taking 15-30 minutes out of my day to stretch, meditate and relax will undoubtedly assist my body and mind. I’ve already noticed the benefits of just taking some time to just focus on my breath and center myself during my yoga classes. Even if it does not last long, the benefits are long lasting for sure. I encourage you to do the same :)

Namaste

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Dreamy evening

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I absolutely LOVE running by the water as the sun is going down. The breathtaking view makes me so happy! I often have trouble keeping my eyes off the water and focusing on my running. However, due to my excitement I tend to run much faster and for longer than if I was running on a treadmill or around a boring oval for example. The photo featured above was taken tonight by the Spit Bridge in Seaforth.

Goodnight everyone :)