Chickpea & Blue Cheese Summer Salad

Another quick & delish easy salad combo to share….

INGREDIENTS/ METHOD
300g reduced salt tinned chickpeas
Two large handfuls mix lettuce leaves
Circa 150g creamy blue cheese cut into squares
Handful fresh picked green beans cut roughly the size of your thumbnail
1 red capsicum, cut same size
Small 1/3 handful of pumpkin seeds (toast them in a pan for extra nutty-ness)

This is super-quick to throw together, and great with a small drizzle of balsamic vinegar… perfect for a filling healthy late summer lunch…

 

Growing your own veg….?

So as a result of being stuck in bed for the better part of a week, in between a persistent consistent and insistent headache (!!) I’ve been unable to do much more than sleep & think…. One of the main things I’ve been contemplating is food, and it’s relation to health…. Segué into thinking about what I’ve enjoyed the most at friends places and favourite restaurants – and it’s always been the dishes made with home-grown and/or locally grown veg.

Now being mildly OCD about how things look (read: matchy matchy) M & I have been bandying about on the whole ‘grow your own veg’ thing, wanting fabulous (expensive) planters and the like. What I’ve realised is that we’ve been making this WAAAAAY harder than it needs to be, and therefore created barriers to getting amoungst this goodness.

So today, as M squirrelled away in his office, and I lay in bed, I decided to take matters into my own hands and get this ball rolling… I realised through a bit more research that you can actually grow most veg in planter bags – a very cheap and effective way of getting your garden growing! (Duh, I know right?) so I let my fingers do the walking/index finger do the clicking, and have ordered some essentials to get underway:

 

  • Seedling trays
  • Yates black magic seed raising mix (love that name!)
  • Gardening gloves
  • Potato bags x4 (can grow potatoes, onions, beets, carrot etc)
  • Wide/long planter bags x2 (primarily for tomato, lettuce, carrot etc)

For starters I checked online to see what I should be seeding for planting now, what plants grow best together (companion planting reduces the need for chemical bug sprays – WIN!) and got the following seeds:

  • Chives
  • Cocktail tomatoes (multi coloured goodness)
  • Mesclun lettuce
  • Cut & come again mixed lettuce
  • Marigolds
  • Beetroot
  • Red onion

(Still to get carrot seeds but couldn’t find a good one online)

So these should arrive in the next few days, and I’m going to put my love, energy and time into seeing what I can grow… we have a fabulous deck that’s large & gets all day sun, so I’m cautiously optimistic. I know that apartment living is about as far away from Mother Nature as you can get, and I’m an earth-baby at heart, so hopefully this will have far reaching positive effects on M & I….

And if you don’t try, you’ll never know…… I can’t wait to be making beautiful meals for my friends & family from home grown veggies.

 

Lifestyle changes/ eating for health..

Reading through this list of heathy eating cafès published in the Herald today (not an exhaustive list by any means but still good selection) it does truly seem like Auckland is cottoning on to healthy, tasty eating…. There does seem to be a bit of a movement of this lately, and it’s been one of my (slow burning) passions for many years so it’s great to see some dialogue and energy behind this. (Am I just noticing this because I’m getting back into it, or is it truly changing?)

Since my health issues in 2012, and subsequent changes in my body since then (read: weight gain due to heavy doses of hormones, ongoing issues with my body dealing with a temp “fix” device pumping yet more hormones into my body each day) I’ve been trying to find the right balance to get myself back to optimum health…

Through the changes in my diet and lifestyle I’ve noticed that I’m not as susceptible to colds/viruses as I once was… or if I start to get sick I can generally knock it before it takes hold. This in itself would be reason enough to make the simple changes I have… but as I’m on a bit of a journey at present, there’s more to come!

Through my years of coaching and working in the recruitment industry I’ve noticed the common theme that everyone is looking for in their life is balance. (namely a career that provides challenge and opportunity to grow, whilst supporting you financially and allowing adequate leisure time and the ability to enjoy new experiences..) this is the holy grail right?

But it all begins with balance.

We can’t expect that our lives will change if we keep doing the same things that we have always done. It’s not rocket science – it’s logic. You need to change the ingredients or the inputs, to achieve a different result.

One if the easiest ways to change your life is to adjust your lifestyle – make some very real decisions about your inputs and ingredients. It can be the food you eat, the alcohol you imbibe, the fresh air and exercise you experience from day to day – or the people you spend your time and energy with/on.

You can’t make massive changes overnight, there’s always a period of adjustment, and that’s OK. Some of the things that have worked for me, which I will keep doing and refining are:
– Cutting down/ cutting out alcohol (seems a no brainer, right?)
– Cutting down/cutting out sugar/ refined and processed food (amazing how your body responds after the initial detox period)
– Increasing exercise (a lot of this is just finding out what works for you, for example gyms are not for me, but for some that’s perfect)
– Increasing organic/ wholefoods and vegetables in my day to day diet (had a huge impact for me personally)

The Herald article talked about healthy eating cafés really working because they haven’t compromised on taste, and this resonates with me… no one in their right mind (??) wants to eat dry, tasteless bird seed.. and you don’t have to. Cooking can be an absolute joy – with inspiring ingredients and unreal flavour and taste experiences.. food that nourishes you. <3

 

Buddha Bowl

No wonder everyone is so confused….

New year – new you! We hear this phrase so often at this time of year…. people thinking it’s a good time to turn over a new leaf, set goals, get in shape….. and it is. Except the media makes it so much harder than it needs to be. Case in point – the snip below from the life & style section of the NZ Herald – harking on about obesity in one column, and listing three EXTREMELY unhealthy recipies with mouth watering images right next to it…. Yeesh! No wonder people are confused!

 

 

Reflection.. feminine mid-life crises?

Ok serious question: why does it take until we are sick, and HAVE to stop, to allow us time to make us put on the brakes and reflect on our lives?

I’ve recently been diagnosed with menorrhagia and fibroids and quite literally been forced to stop over the past 6 weeks. For someone who is constantly on the move thats tricky to say the least… It’s been a harrowing and stressful time (mainly because of how long it’s taken to get a diagnosis and treatment plan) and for what is actually quite a common problem for women.

It’s not until I had to explain why I’ve been off work and barely left the house that I’ve realised how many of us really suffer to some degree with this stuff. Up to 25% of women at some stage in their lives will have these symptoms and issues.

I didn’t know any of this until it started happening to me…. (and it’s quite simply one of the scariest experiences I’ve had..) so why don’t we know about this? Why do so many so many women suffer from varying degrees of this but no one talks about it?

….and why on earth does it take a catalyst of this degree before we stop and really assess our general health and well being?

So I’ve been reflecting on my habits, my lifestyle and just generally taking a good long hard look at myself. I think in our 20’s there’s a general feeling of invincibility… the ageing process hasn’t really even begun and we can take our bodies for granted, knowing full well that they will bounce back with the vigour and vitality of youth…

Not so in your thirties! With all of the wisdom, financial stability and vague smugness of our personal sexual revolution… brings the inevitable process of coming to grips with our own mortality. (be that a rogue wrinkle that appears overnight and forces us to accept the aging process, or a medical issue typically associated with those childbearing years…)

And so we reflect….. and OH BOY once you start down that road it feels like you are getting to know yourself all over again… “but I survived my twenties and I’m really together now – why am I here again? Haven’t I figured this all out already?”

Do we call it a mid-life crises? If so why do we go all introverted and reflecting instead of buying a big red penis extension sports car? As women are we destined to forever question ourselves until the day we shake off this mortal coil?

I hope so.

It’s far too easy to take things like your health (mental, physical and spiritual) for granted, and get so caught up running around trying to do all the things, and be all the things that we tend to lose ourselves in this noise and activity.

  • When was the last time you did something purely for YOU, for your own pleasure – for the simple enjoyment of it?
  • When was the last time you spent time relaxing, meditating and just generally stopping to enjoy being alone with yourself?
  • When was the last time you thought gentle, loving thoughts about yourself, or reminded yourself just how awesome you are?

The irony is these things are free.. And take less time and effort than your morning bathroom routine. And if we don’t take care of ourselves, who will?

So as I move towards my milestone birthday, followed closely by surgery that will hopefully get me on my feet and kicking butt again…. I’m using this time where I am literally stuck in bed to reflect… to spend time focussing on the things that make me happy, to visualise myself enjoying things to come, and to put in place the things I need to continue looking after my mental, physical and spiritual health well into the future.

Hey, it’s not a bright shiney red sports car, but something tells me I’ll get more mileage from it.