fitness

Mindful Beauty with Metta Skincare

DSC0759-Copy-e1474423454260.jpg

Beauty is something that we have learnt, through crafty marketing, to attribute to vanity and insecurity, which has led us to lose the true meaning of it.  The essence of beauty is within us.  It's this 'thing' that we can't quite explain but we know is there, because we feel it.  It's that feeling of being a divine individual who is perfect just as they are, who knows exactly what their gifts are and isn't affraid to let them shine.

Beauty is honouring yourself, scars and all.  Beauty is loving your skin and nourishing it with nutritious products.  Beauty is treasuring all that we see in the mirror.  And, Beauty is inspiring others to see their own beauty and to feel the same way.

So how do we become mindful about beauty?  It all starts with our awareness.  Our awareness of how we feel towards ourself and the way that we treat ourselves.  What are the thoughts that you're having when you look in the mirror at your own reflection?  How do you really feel about yourself?  And how are you treating yourself?  Start with honouring every feature, line and scar.  Appreciate all that your eyes have seen, every smile that you've had and even every frown that you have made.  They all tell a story, the story of YOU.

Taking time out each morning dedicated to ourselves is powerful stuff.  Switch up your morning beauty routine by showing gratitude for your body as your moisturise it with natural products or even saying affirmations in the mirror as you get ready for your day.  All of these small actions lead to a much more positive mindset towards ourselves, and over time, this mindset becomes our belief system about our worth.

Just as we are conscious of the food that we eat, we need to be conscious of the products we put on our skin.  As we all know, however mostly forget, everything that we put onto our skin, goes INTO our skin and shortly after, into our body.  So it really is important that we make a conscious effort to be aware of what we are putting onto our skin, to ensure that we are treating it to the best possible products, because what we use on our skin daily really can have a detrimental effect on our health.  It sounds like a stretch, I know, but you have to consider all of the ingredients that are either number or words that you cannot pronounce, where they have come from and what they will do once inside the body, especially if you're using them daily.

It's not just about how the product feels once applied on your skin, but how you feel intuitively using natural products.  We have no need to feel guilty or a feeling of "I should know better'.  In fact, we feel empowered to know that we have honoured our face, skin and body with what it really needs, natural nourishment.  We all know that we feel better when we eat produce fresh from the farmers' market, and the same applies to using quality natural products on our face and body.

Thankfully, these days, using natural doesn't mean lesser quality.   In fact, I have found some natural products, especially those with coconut oil, to be much longer lasting on my skin and have helped prevent breakouts on my acne prone skin.  Also, I love knowing where my products are coming from and love supporting local companies.  This is why I have teamed up with Metta Skincare.  Metta Skincare is a Melbourne based skincare company that is completely natural and vegan with body butters, hand, face and lip balms as well as body oil.  I am especially a fan on the body butter and use it daily.

Whether Metta is your natural skincare brand or you use another, becoming mindful of the way we approach beauty and the products we use to nourish our skin, is really important.  Knowing that we are worthy of taking the time out to look after ourselves each and every day, knowing that we are the top of our priority list and knowing that the more we take care of ourselves, the more we are able to take care of others.

xSx

metta_brandmark_red_rgb
metta_brandmark_red_rgb

MONDAY MEDITATION | 1 Minute "In + Out Breathe" Meditation

IMG_2774-e1470960326929.png

Looking for a meditation that you can do literally anywhere.. even at the traffic lights?  I've got the right one for you!! This little gem is so easy and subtle, you can literally do this one anywhere.  You can use it at your desk, on the tram/train, at the traffic lights, before a meeting.. anywhere!  It's the ultimate little reset, best part; it only takes a minute!

Check it out and be sure to comment below to let me know how you go :)

https://youtu.be/pWqa46LoP4M

xSx

How to Stay Positive in Negative Times

pretty-woman-1509956_1920-e1468894060794.jpg

These days we seem to be living amongst information overload.  We have negative news updates now creeping into our social media feeds, terrorism fears, constant internal comparisons to instagram accounts with stacks of followers, we're seeing the current gun violence in the US, we have financial fears.. the list goes on.  We cannot deny the times that we find ourselves living in, but we can take control of how we, as individuals and as a community, respond to them. The truth is, shit happens and its going to happen.  Once upon a time we all knew this, but our current world plasters perfection everywhere and its as if we've lost sight of the real world (this absolutely does not condone violence or hatred of any kind, and it never will.  Those kind of acts must be dealt with effectively.)  Life will always be an ebb and flow, just like the seasons, circumstances will always come and go.  Once we learn to let go and allow nature to take it's course (allow the negative circumstance to naturally subside), we are reminded that everything is only ever temporary and there is always a lesson to be learned, and a greater outcome awaiting us.

With all of that in mind, here are my tips for 'weathering the negative storms' and keeping a positive mind:

  1. Have compassion.  Compassion or those communities effected, compassion for your co-workers, compassion for your neighbour driving you nuts, compassion for the driver who just cut you off on the road.  We must expand our awareness to the fact that, in one way or another, we're all struggling.  That neighbour who is driving you nuts; may be about to lose a parent, that driver who just cut you off; may have just lost their job and may not know how they will pay their rent this month.  No one is rude, angry or hurtful to another when they are genuinely happy in their own life.  Once we understand this, it makes it a lot easier to deal with negative/unhappy people.
  2. Only concern yourself with what you can control.  This one can be a hard idea to grasp, but once we do, it's very freeing.  It doesn't change the circumstance, but it changes your reaction to it.  It's not about sitting back helplessly, it's simply the act of letting outside circumstances be managed by those who have the power to make the change.  Stress and worry wreak havoc on our nervous system, so when we stress that our train is delayed and we are now late for work, we're asking for a morning of chaos; unnecessary anxiety, stress & worry.  Stressing while sitting on the train wont make it go any faster and you cant get out and push it!  So this is where you accept that you're going to be late, let those who need to know, know and enjoy the extra 20 mins you get out of the office!  Relax, your co-workers wont even be thinking anything of it anyway, they're busy reading their emails or trawling news.com.au.
  3. Appreciation for everything.  Even when times are tough, there is always something to be grateful for.  Be thankful for the person who held the train door for you, be grateful for the lovely meal you ate, appreciate your income every month, thankful for the roof over your head, grateful for your loving partner or family.  As much as there are endless negative things we could think about, there are endless positive things.  The more you turn your attention to the good things in your life, the more they will show up.  It is law!
  4. Acceptance of the circumstances.  Accept that crappy things happen, accept that you will move through it and accept that the sun will break and you will find yourself on the other side, wiser, stronger, smarter and with a fresh outlook.

All it takes is one small positive action towards another to have a positive ripple effect.  You may be the reason that person smiled this morning, they may then hold the door for another, that person may then buy their co-worker a coffee.  All of these small action pay it forward for more optimism and positivity throughout us all.

How can you pay it forward today?

xSx

'No Guilt' Raw Choc Bars (Recipe)

image-3-e1463442254936.jpeg

Ok, since learning how to make raw chocolate, I have become a totally obsessed with making clean treats.  Almost weekly now I am whipping something new up in the kitchen because it's just so easy!  The best part is being able to be creative.  It really has become this new creative outlet for me.  I would never haveconsidered myself a creative in the kitchen, but now I am in love with it!  There is no right or wrong, so the pressure is off.  It's so simple to taste-test as you go along (and delicious!) add a little of this or a little of that.  So with that in mind, I came up with this super easy chocolate block.  I think I even did it in 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • Half a cup of raw cacao powder
  • 2 Tbsps of rice malt syrup
  • 2 Tbsps of coconut oil
  • Half a cup of puffed quinoa (or use buckwheat from crunch)
  • Half a cup of desiccated coconut
  • Handful of dried cranberries (soaked for an hour)

Method:

  • Blot excess water from your cranberries.
  • Microwave the coconut oil until completely melted.
  • Stirring constantly, slowly add your raw cacao powder.
  • Once smooth and consistent, add you rice malt syrup.
  • Continue stirring constantly and gradually add your quinoa (or buckwheat), cranberries and coconut.
  • Once even, pour into a lined tray and evenly spread.  Decorate as desired.  I sprinkle coconut on mine, but feel free to get creative!
  • Simply refrigerate until set.

Delish!

xSx

Recipe: Guilt Free Brownie Slice

image-e1463297331855.jpeg

This slice has got to be my favourite that I have made.  It was actually meant to be a cashew cookie dough slice, but the cashew centre just wasn't working for me so I cut it and made this delicious slice instead.  A friend from work's reaction was the best "omg yum, it doesn't even taste healthy", a good one to trick your kids into eating :) All you need:

Base

1/2 cup rolled oats

10 medjool dates (soaked for an hour)

5 dried figs (soaked for an hour)

1/4 cup chia seeds (soaked for 15 minutes)

1/2 - 3/4 of cup shredded/desiccated coconut

1/4 cup of raw cacao powder

1/4 cup of almond meal

1 cup of cashews (soaked for an hour - 2 hours)

Vanilla Extract to taste (I use 2 Tbspns)

Chocolate Top

2 heaps Tbspns of coconut oil

2 Tbspns of rice malt syrup

1/3 cup of raw cacao powder

ground goji berries and coconut dusted on top

Method

Prepare your cashews, figs, dates and chia seeds for pre-soaking.

Chop and blitz your dates and figs.  Be sure that you have carefully removed all seeds.

Blitz your cashews and rolled oats, then add to your mixture dried fruit mixture.  Drain your chai seeds and add to the mix, also add your coconut and almond meals.

Once thoroughly combined, gradually add your raw cacao powder and vanilla extract.  These ingredients are added to taste, the sweeter you want them, the more you add.

Melt your coconut oil in a heatproof bowl and gradually add your raw cacao powder, stirring constantly.  Once combined, add your rice malt syrup and stir until smooth.

Pour your choc mix evenly over your brownie base and refrigerate to set.

Once your slice has set, you can decorate with ground nuts, seeds, berries, coconut.. anything you like :)

xSx

image

Fallen Off The Bike? You can still ride it.

girl-1031307_1280.jpg

"Just because you've fallen off the bike, doesn't mean you've forgotten how to ride it"  I can't remember whether it was my friend, Mel or I who come up with that little tidbit, but as soon as I heard it, I knew I had to write about just that. We all make new commitments to ourselves, and probably daily.  "I am going sugar free", "I am going to do 3 gym classes a week", "I will start getting more sleep" etc.  But how frequently are we giving up all too easily as soon as we slide a little?  We think that as soon as we waiver a little bit, that we have totally failed, so we may as well give up now.  We've become all or nothing.  Truth is, we're going to fall off the wagon every day, after all, it's how we learn.  The real skill is how we bounce back from our setbacks.  This is the gig.  It's really about a commitment to re-trying, time and time again and not beating ourselves up when we do slide.  Eating that one tim-tam doesn't mean that you've completely reverted back to your sugary days.  You probably used eat 3 a day, and now you're down to 1.  That's great (literally taken that one straight from my life..).

After committing to commitment, you will find that it will get easier and easier and you'll shorten the recovery time, each time.  You'll start to bounce back quicker and quicker.  You'll even start to enjoy the process as you'll know what to expect and you'll quickly learn that you can do it.  By appreciating the progress that you are making and realise that you are achieving far more than you realise.

It's not about being perfect, for we will never ever be perfect.  It's about our commitment to being better, doing more (or sometimes even less), to eating better, to sleeping longer, to being more active, to meditating regularly, to saying "I love you" or "I forgive you" to someone (and yourself!), ultimately it's about feeling better more often.

Let yourself off the hook and commit to doing better tomorrow, and the next day.

xSx

Recipe: Vegan Bounty Slice

Bounty-4.jpg

Everyone knows how obsessed with whole food shopping I am (The Source Bulk Foods, anyone.?!) especially making healthier alternatives to settle my major sweet tooth (everyone also knows how much I love chocolate).  I love this healthy bounty slice!  I made it for the first time over the weekend and it's a winner.  It's all the categories; vegan, paleo, sugar free*, gluten free and diary free.  A delicious treat for lunch boxes, after work snack, get togethers, picnics etc, plus it's super easy to make and fun for the kids (no cooking required). Ingredients (remember to use organic where possible)

Bounty Middle

1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 1.5 - 2 hours)

3 cups of shredded coconut

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup rice malt syrup

pinch of Himilayan rock salt

Choc Base

10 Medjool dates (pitted)

1 cup almond meal

1 1/1 cups shredded coconut

2 Tbs Rice Malt Syrup

2 Tbs Raw Cacao powder

2 Tbs ground Chia Seeds

pinch of Himilayan rock salt

Choc Top

1/4 Cup raw cacao powder

2/3 Cup Coconut oil

1/4 Cup Rice Malt Syrup

1 Tbs of vanilla extract

Method

Chop all of your dates (checking for and removing any pips) and place all of the base ingredients into a food processor.  Mix until all ingredients are sticky, almost dough like.

Firmly press the base into your lined pan, being careful to maintain an even consistency.  Place in the freezer while you make the Bounty filling.

Combine all of the Bounty Middle ingredients into your food processor and mix until even and sticky.

Firmly press the Bounty Middle mix onto your Choc Base.  If needed, use the back of a warm spoon to even your mix out.  Place back into freezer while you make your Choc Topping.

Melt your coconut oil and whisk in your rice malt syrup and cocao powder; being careful to keep the mixture even and smooth.

Lightly and evenly drizzle onto the top of  your Bounty Middle mix, getting to all the corners.  Freeze for an hour to set.

Sprinkle with some shredded coconut and enjoy!

Quick note for cooking with raw cocao powder;  Raw Cacao is the raw and unsweetened form of chocolate and therefore is rather bitter.  The rule of thumb is to use 1/3 less than you would if you were using sugared/processed Cocoa cooking powder.

*this recipe is processed sugar free.  Dates and Rice Malt Syrup are a healthier and more natural alternative to sugar.

 

Recipe: Delicious Infused Water

refreshment-768743_1920.jpg

We all know the 8-glasses-of-water-a-day drill, but how boring can water be though, seriously.   While there are some days where 8 glasses of water is enough, there are other times where we should be aiming for 3 litres.  It is important to be consistently drinking water, especially when we know that our bodies (us!) are around 70% water! I have created a delicious infused water blend to keep me reaching for water over sweeter drinks throughout the day:

  • Mint leaves
  • Half a Lime
  • Half a Lemon
  • 2 Litres of water

Not only is it delicious, but it helps flush nasty toxins from the body and assists to alkaline the system.

Mix up a jug of it and keep it in the fridge or get a glass bottle (or BPA free plastic bottle) and keep on your desk to drink throughout the work day.

Soda water also goes great with this mix.  Think Vodka, Lime and Soda...sans Vodka and more flavour, super refreshing.

Infused water is a great alternative over cordial for the kids!  Just chop up their favourite fruits and add them to the jug.

I would love to hear your favourite infused water blends in the comment section below.

xSx

 

My jug at home

IMG_0186

Recipe: My Favourite Breakfast Smoothie

smoothie-456814_1920.jpg

This breakfast smoothie is the bomb!  Not only is it delicious, but I look forward to it each morning.  Plus it's super easy to clean up, bonus for when you're in the morning rush. Packed with protein and nutrients, this smoothie keeps me full all morning long.

Using your blender (I use a Magic Bullet), load up the cup with the following:

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 Tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp of pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbsps of coconut
  • A few mint leaves
  • 3 (or 4) heaped Tbsps of natural Greek yoghurt
  • 1 large handful of washed blueberries (alternative: frozen berries / other berries)
  • 1/2 cup of water (alternative: coconut water / almond milk)

Blend, stop, shake the cup and then blend again.

Enjoy!

 

Here's the ingredients that I use:

IMG_0178

 

Better than Coffee!

coffee-1031142_1920.jpg

We all can struggle to wake up in the morning, but for those that are caffeine dependant, you could be doing more harm than you realise. Caffeine in small doses is generally fine for consumption, but your daily coffee, whether you're a 3 cups a day or just one cup a day coffee drinker, could be causing chaos to your nervous system, especially if you find that you are particularly stressed. Taking a caffeine detox every so often will do wonders for your system! Here are my tips for healthier wake-up substitutes.

Lemon Water I drink lemon water every day, I love it! In summer I have a jug of water in the fridge with half a lemon, half a lime and around 5 mint leaves. It's delicious, refreshing and aids the liver with detoxification. I even have mint and lemon in my water bottle on my desk a few times a week. The only caution with this one is to try and use a straw to limit the acidity on your teeth.

Morning exercise Put your work-out gear on and walk part of the way to work. I know the days that I walk half an hour to the next train station in my gym gear, are the days where I feel the most energised when I arrive to the office. Even if the walk wasn't strenuous, I still feel like I have moved my body and done something physical, especially before I spend many hours at a desk with little movement. If you drive to work, make an effort to get a 20 minute walk in before you leave (walk the dog, snoop on neighbours..) or even arrive at work early and take a walk around the block. You will certainly feel more awake after it.

Fresh air and sunlight Our bodies have a natural cycle called the circadian rhythm. We are naturally designed to wake up to light and wind down from dusk. When you wake, open the curtains and your windows. This will activate your body into wake mode.

Get out of bed when your alarm first goes off If you wake before your alarm, get up then. When we fall back asleep or take our time getting up, we are creating a sluggish state which can set the tone for the day ahead. You will also benefit from being able to take your time getting ready, rather than rushing.

Get enough sleep If you find that you are still tired when your alarm goes off (we have all been there..) make an effort to get to bed earlier. Just add 30 mins every week or so until you find the right amount of sleep for you. You will know that you are getting enough sleep when you wake up feeling refreshed. That mythical morning fresh feeling does exist and you will definitely be less likely to reach for coffee when you feel this great in the morning!

Sleep with your phone in your living room We all know the "roll over, grab phone, alarm off, click email, scroll Facebook, roll out of bed" routine. Set an old-school alarm and have your phone in another room. This will force you to get out of bed earlier to check your phone and will also create a more peaceful sleeping environment.

Cooler than normal shower Whether this shower is at your workplace after your morning exercise or right after you get out of bed, a cooler than normal shower has calming effects on our nervous system, strengthens vagal tone and wakes your senses up and leaves you feeling extra fresh!

Let me know which healthier routine options work for you and if you have any other tips that work for you, leave a comment below - I would love to hear them!

xSx

Paleo Bliss Balls

12540788_780968585366293_6166640603600311870_n-e1452398130786.jpg

Paleo Energy Balls These deliscious little snack balls are great for on the go or fun lunchbox additions. Full of fibre and protein, these little snack balls are great snacking items.

Get your hands ready..

1 Handful of Cashews 1 Handful of Almonds 2 Handfuls of Dates 1 Handful of Figs 2 Tbsps of Goji Berries 2 Tbsps of Chia Seeds 3 Tbsps of Coconut 1 Tbsps of Coconut Oil

Using a high powered blender/mixer, blend each dry item into a fine mix and blend together. Chop figs and dates into small pieces and blend into a soft mix.

The key here is to blend (and blend some more) all of the items together.

Melt your coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute (as required).

In your soft mix (figs and dates) gradually add the dry mix, blending as you go. If you find that the mix is not blending as well, add a teaspoon of coconut at a time as this will help combine the ingredients.

If you don't have a mixer, you can do this by hand, by working the dry items through as you go (quite the arm workout!).

Roll into small balls and refrigerate.

Enjoy!

xSx

12418032_10153865658112002_2079808368084889687_n

COMMUNICATION - The "3 Step Success" Series

img_2913.jpg

Effective communication 1: Listen to hear, not to reply 2: Be empathetic 3: Have open body language

🔷 More often then not, when we are in conversation, we are preparing our next response while the other is talking or we even speak over them. When we truly listen to what the other person is saying, we are able to connect on a deeper level and fully take in what is being said. This allows for the listener to pick up on non-verbal cues and therefore give a more meaningful reply.

🔷 The best way to be an empathetic listener is to put yourself in the other person's shoes, rather than making assumptions or passing judgement on what is being said. Empathetic listening allows you to be much more understanding to the speaker's situation and feelings, and therefore allowing you to give more constructive feedback.

🔷 You may not be aware, but 55% of your communication is transmitted through your body language. This makes body language vital for effective communication. We've all had a time when someone isn't listening to us, their eyes are looking elsewhere, legs might be crossed and they're hardly acknowledging what is being said. Therefore, you want to be sure that your body language is open and attentive with your body facing the speaker, arms uncrossed and maintaining eye contact.