This is not a paleo re-enactment

“We’re not going for paleo reenactment here. We look at things from an ancestral perspective to generate questions and hypotheses and give us some ideas about what may or may not make sense…”

- Chris Kresser

Nature-Masterpieces-leopard-gregory-colbert-saved-by-Chic-n-Cheap-LivingI read this quote recently and it really resonated with me. We can’t go back to live a replica of a paleolithic lifestyle and nor would we want to. We rely on our modern conveniences far too much – who would want to wash clothes by hand and give up every electronic device, to list just a few examples? So many anti-ancestral advocates use this line to argue that because we can’t go back it’s pointless to even try to push against the tide of convenience foods and other realities of our modern lifestyle.

The point is, it is useful to look at things from an ancestral perspective to better understand and appreciate what makes us tick, function and thrive, and what makes us fall apart. It is really hard to be happy when we are not functioning properly. And conversely life seems to flow more effortlessly when we are firing on all 6 cylinders.

When we understand our anatomy and physiology and can align to the best of our ability our modern lifestyle choices with our biology, we have greater potential to perform and function properly and reach our true potential. I say “to the best of our ability” because the foods we eat today together with the quality of our soils is a far cry from those enjoyed by our palaeolithic ancestors from which we evolved and from which our genes were set, the quality of the water we now drink and the air we breathe is inferior, our stress is now chronic, our lifestyle is far more sedentary and relegated to the indoors with artificial lights, and our length of sleep and its cycle is severely compromised. No matter hard how we try. But we still have the choice to align our modern lifestyle as best we can to more closely match what we are built for. We can maximise nutrient-density. We can minimise toxins. We can move and sleep more, sit less, spend more time outdoors in nature in sunshine and make attempts to manage our stress. We shouldn’t throw the baby out with our chlorinated bathwater in the name of our modern lifestyle.

Our children’s health is partly a reflection of our health at the time of their birth and partly a reflection of their diet and other lifestyle factors that impact them as they grow. So we need to invest in ourselves and our children for our collective well-being and that of future generations.  And that’s why I care. This is not a reenactment. It’s being consciously aware of whether our deliberations further our potential, our health, our happiness and that of future generations and the well-being of the planet or detract from it.

The catch phrase for my business “traditional wholefoods for a modern world” summarises where I stand on this issue- to strive to marry the best of both worlds- the wisdom of our ancestors with the conveniences of our modern, digital age. To unite them to create a new kind of homeostasis for the modern human.

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Chocolate workshop: Sunday 8th March 2015: 9am-1pm

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Easter looming around the corner is the perfect excuse to run a chocolate workshop! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if parents (and their kids!) could make their own nutritious and delicious chocolates without having to resort to  additive-laden poor-quality commercial varieties?

In this workshop we will be covering how to make:

(a) chocolate block/slab
(b) chocolate slice
(c) chocolate hazelnut spread (the real “nutella”)
(d) chocolate ice-cream
(e) hot chocolate pudding
(f) raw chocolate mousse
(g) Mexican hot chocolate with chilli, orange and coconut milk

The above just about covers the entire range of my favourite ways to consume chocolate!! Chocolate cake will be covered in my gluten-free cakes and muffins workshop coming up soon! Chocolate smoothies will be covered in my bone broth workshop (yes really!) and breakfast workshops- both coming up later this year.

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We will be cooking with unprocessed fermented raw cacao powder. We will not be using any refined sweeteners – only natural unprocessed sweeteners or whole fruit. All recipes are grain-free but 3 contain dairy.

Cost is $140 per person and includes:

  • information handout with step by step guides and recipes
  • nutritional theory discussion on raw cacao powder, raw cacao butter, carob, chocolate and sweeteners
  • practical demonstration
  • hands-on experience
  • food tasting and lots of it!!!!

img_0185This workshop is ideal for:

  • those who are grain-free or gluten-free
  • chocolate lovers who want to learn how to make their own nutrient-dense healthy chocolate sweets and desserts using only unprocessed nutritious ingredients
  • people who want to transition off processed chocolate and want a healthy substitute for themselves or their family members
  • people who want to try new things and eat lots of chocolate! YES PLEASE!!!

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When: 9am – 1pm  Sunday 8 March 2015
Where: 23 Kent Street, Waverley, 2024

Spaces limited. If there is an oversubscription of interest,  I will run another class on Sunday 22 March. Or let me know which of these 2 dates you prefer!

RSVP:  To secure your spot you will need to:
1. text me on 0407 871 884 to confirm that there are spaces available. Spots can only be reserved for 24 hours; and
2. transfer $140 (referencing your FIRST AND SURNAME and ‘CHOC’) into my bank account:
Account name: star anise organic wholefoods (aust) pty ltd
BSB: 062 000
Account no: 15110110
Places will book up quickly!
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2015-01-23 11.12.35Please feel free to forward to any friends or family members.

Cancellation policy: once funds are deposited into my bank account they are non-refundable but can be transferred to another cooking class/workshop upon 48 hours notice.

second foam rolling workshop: Thursday 19th March 7:30pm

The first foam rolling workshop is now fully booked so we are holding a second workshop the following Thursday 19th March. All of the details and information on how to book can be found in this post advertising the first foam rolling workshop except the date of the second workshop is 19th March. All other details remain the same. There are 5 spots left as I type this so get in fast if you are interested in attending. Given the popularity we may hold these regularly throughout the year.

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Foam rolling workshop: Thursday 12 March 7:30pm

IMG_1531When I come across something that immeasurably improves the quality of my life I can’t help but share it. Foam rolling to release fascia is one such example. Since I started  foam rolling a year ago my injuries have dramatically reduced, my osteo-skeletal issues have minimised, my flexibility has improved out of sight despite doing less stretching, and my recovery after intense interval training has improved…. and most importantly when I foam-roll consistently I am pain-free. For someone who spent most of their teens, 20s and 30s in chronic osteo-skeletal pain, I can’t begin to tell you the sheer ecstasy of being pain-free. Moving to a nutrient-dense wholefoods diet, less sitting, and switching to interval training as opposed to long slow steady-state cardio, all made dramatic improvements in my ailing health, but foam rolling has taken it to the next level.

I have had a lot of interest and enquiries from clients, customers and friends about foam rolling- why do you do it ? what is it? how do you do it? So I have teamed up with my PT and human movement specialist, Chris Ogle,  to run a fascia release workshop using foam rollers and rubber balls to show you the what, why and hows.

IMG_2367The cost of the class is $35 per person and will be run by Chris. I will be participating (and possibly throwing in my 2 cents worth).

What you will get:

  • an explanation of what fascia is, its role in the human body, what causes it to tighten, the consequences of tight fascia, and how to loosen it
  • an explanation of why stretching alone is not enough
  • practical demonstrations
  • 1 hour of releasing fascia via foam rolling and rubber balls
  • opportunity to ask questions, and place an order to purchase a foam roller and a rubber ball for you to release fascia at home at your convenience!
  • opportunity to check to a new gym and be given a free 2 week trial.
IMG_6269This workshop is primarily targeted at those who:
  • want to take their flexibility and /or athletic performance to the next level
  • have tight spots, niggling pains, or  inflexibility in certain parts of their body
  • enjoy the feeling of being massaged or would love to have regular massage but might not have the time and/or funds for it
  • are not getting enough benefit from stretching alone
  • want to learn how to effectively release fascia and iron out tight spots in their own home
  • curious to try something new and have some fun!
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Where: Centennial Health Studio at EQ, Moore Park (near Pumpkin Patch), yoga room, level 1 up the escalators.
When: Thursday 12th March 7:30pm – 9pm ish
Spaces limited to 14.  If this class books out we will run additional classes in the following weeks.
Wear: tight fitting gym/yoga clothes (loose clothing and loose hair gets caught up under the roller- I learnt that one the hard way!)
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RSVP:  To secure your spot  you will need to:
1. text me your interest on 0407 871 884 and I will confirm whether there are spaces available; and
2. once I confirm that there is a spot available please transfer $35 (referencing your name and ‘foamroller’) within 24 hours to secure your spot into this bank account:
Account name: staraniseorganicwholefoods (aust) pty ltd

BSB: 062 000
Account no: 15110110
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Mini-fermentation workshop Tuesday 3rd March 7:30pm

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I will be running a mini-fermentation workshop on Tuesday 3rd March 7:30pm where I will be showcasing how to make the following:

  • water kefir
  • cultured cream (contains dairy)
  • beet kvass
  • kombucha

Cost is $70 per person and includes:

  • summary theory discussion on gut health, the role of friendly bacteria and probiotic-rich foods, and the factors that affect our gut microbiome
  • detailed handout including theory and step by step guides
  • practical demonstrations
  • hands-on experience
  • food tasting
  • 1 x  kombucha scoby
  • 1x tablespoon water kefir bacteria/’grains’
  • opportunity to ask questions
This workshop is primarily targeted at those who have attended one of my fermentation workshops in previous years (hence know how to make cultured veggies, cream cheese and milk kefir) and just want to learn how to make these 4 new fermented drinks/foods. If spaces are available I will open it up to new participants as well.  
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Where: 23 Kent Street, Waverley, 2024.
 When: Tuesday 3th March 7:30pm- 10pm ish
Spaces limited to 10. Spots typically book out within 24 hours so get in quick! If this class books out I will run additional classes in the following weeks.
 
RSVP:  To secure your spot  you will need to:
1. text me your interest on 0407 871 884 and I will confirm whether there are spaces available; and
2. once I confirm that there is a spot available please transfer $70 (referencing your name and ‘mini LF class’) within 24 hours to secure your spot into this bank account:
Account name: star anise organicwholefoods (aust)ptyltd

BSB: 062 000
Account no: 15110110
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Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetCancellation policy: once funds are deposited into my bank account they are non-refundable but can be transferred to another cooking class/workshop upon 48 hours notice.

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Modern Greek Salad

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I love traditional wholefoods made with a modern twist.  This way we can still reap all of the nutritional benefits of foods that we are designed to eat and make us thrive, but frocked up for this contemporary world. A bit like a hopeless romantic with a dirty mind (it is Valentines Day after all).

I recently shared a recipe for Fig Brie and Rocket salad now that figs are in season. Figs are still afoot (I picked some up yesterday in Just Organics) and I happened upon some pomegranate in my gathering expedition which sadly is not organic… I bought it from the supermarket (gasp!)  but i figure that its thick outer skin acts as a pretty good protectant from any chemicals that may have been sprayed on it…. and for me pomegranate  is a one-a-year purchase, so I’m not so phased. So with figs and pomegranate – 2 quintessential wog staples- my mind went to work on reinventing the Greek salad.

Ingredients

4 handfuls of rocket
8 fresh small ripe figs (or 6 large figs), cut into quarters (I prefer to leave skin on)
70 grams feta, cut into cubes
4 radishes, thinly sliced (optional)
½ pomegranate
½ cucumber, thinly shaved on the diagonal with a vegetable peeler
½ small red onion, thinly sliced in rounds
handful of green olives
2 tablespoon extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
unrefined salt
cracked pepper

Directions

Blend the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice with a stick blender or whisk until well mixed to make a dressing.

Arrange rocket on a round serving plate. Arrange the figs, feta, radishes, pomegranate, cucumber, red onion slices and green olives all around the plate.

Dress with oil/vinegar/lemon dressing, and season with salt and pepper before serving.

Serve as an entrée or a side to a main meal.

Serves 4.

Tonight this was prepared and served within 15 minutes post-beach as a special Valentines dinner with my 2 greatest loves – Will and Michaela- with seared pastured steak drizzled with Worcestershire sauce, my cultured veggies and a cup of gelatinous chook broth. Frangipanis, assorted shells and candle on the table care of Michaela “because this is a special day mummy”.

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Opa! ….. and Kali Orexi!

raw love

IMG_5967When I was younger I heard a story about this remote grotto that was renowned for its high concentration of air bubbles that naturally rose from the sea bed so when you dived into the water it was akin to being enveloped in 1000 kisses. Sounds blissful right?

Talking all things orgasmic, we are making these limited edition double love heart chocolates to celebrate the International Day of Love. They are hand-made with certified organic raw cacao powder, raw cacao butter, a pinch of sea salt and sweetened with pure Canadian maple syrup. With 81% raw cacao content you can rest assured that they are real raw deal. Retailing for $10 for a bag of 5 double hearts (just over 100g). 

Did you know that raw cacao is ranked as the fourth most nutrient-dense food on the planet (Dr Matt Lalonde nutrient-density scale)? All the more  reason to not feel guilty if the chocolate you are eating is  made from quality ingredients and is at least 75% raw cacao content.

IMG_5968Raw cacao powder has a myriad of health benefits:

  • High in polyphenols (anti-oxidants) particularly flavanols (higher than green tea, red wine, goji berries, acai berries). Anti-oxidants prevent the effects of aging, DNA damage, heart disease and cancer.
  • high in mineralsesp. magnesium (healthy heart and brain function; muscle relaxant; bones density; mitigates feelings of stress), chromium (assists pancreatic health and regulates blood sugar) and iron (promotes oxygen transport in the blood).
  • positive effects on the brain, circulatory and cardiovascular system. Eg lowers Alzheimer’s risk, lowers blood pressure, improves blood lipid profile (lowers oxidised LDL), improves insulin sensitivity, improves exercise endurance, protects against pre-eclampsia in pregnancy.
  • anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-thrombotic (anti-blood clotting)
  • anti-depressant/ feel-good chemicals (eg dopamine, serotonine, tryptophan)
  • protects the liver against alcohol (wine and chocolate = winning pair!)
  • protects against UV damage
  • it’s theobromine content (bitter compound) has a stimulating effect producing higher levels of physical energy and mental alertness. It has 1/4 of the stimulating power of caffeine.

So what’s in commercial chocolate that is so nasty? Most popular brands of chocolate contain:

  • refined sugar (which is highly processed), glucose syrup (made from wheat starch) or agave syrup (which is over 90% fructose which causes metabolic issues, digestive distress and weight gain);
  • soy lecithins and/or other emulsifiers (soy comes from a highly processed, industrially grown legume, often of GM origins)
  • cocoa (which is the processed version of cacao – note the difference in spelling!)
  • milk powders (which are heavy processed and devoid of nutrients)
  • barley malt extract (which is heavily processed and contains gluten and phytates)
  • vegetable oils or hydrogenated fats (in a word, toxic)
  • preservatives (usually 220 which affect asthma sufferers), flavours and colours (eg 122).

And don’t kid yourself in thinking that world famous brands of chocolate  or even many that are certified organic are immune from this litany of ingredients. The first (and hence dominant) ingredient in one certified organic brand I picked up the other day is rapadura sugar and the fourth ingredient was soy lecithin. And while rapadura is much less processed than white refined sugar,  if that is the main ingredient in what is going into the chocolate then I’m going to think twice about it.

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If these love heart chocolates don’t take your fancy, there’s always my sokolata (raw dark chocolate slabs…choose from 10 different flavours retailing for $8.70/100g) or my raw cacao coconut balls (sweetened with whole medjool dates retailing for $16.50/bag of 6). Or I can fill a glass jar of your choosing with raw cacao coconut balls upon request.

To purchase any of my products, simply text me 0407 871 884 and collect from my workshop in Waverley at a mutually convenient time.

WISHING YOU ALL A LOVE-FILLED VALENTINES DAY AND HOPE YOU ARE SHOWERED WITH 1000 KISSES AND ORGASMIC CHOCOLATE!!IMG_8769!img_7706
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