Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Delicious Raw Carrot Cake with Cashew Nut Cream

I've found another great way to re-use some of that excess carrot pulp you may have from too much juicing (if there is such a thing!). ...and it's a little tastier than throwing it into your carrot soup!

 This recipe has been inspired by a girlfriend of mine, Angela - thanks doll!

1 cup shredded carrot (or carrot juice pulp)
1 Tbsp shredded ginger - you can also use the powder.  I've often already got the ginger in my pulp mix!
zest + juice of one orange
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins/sultanas
6-7 soaked dates
1/3 cup almonds (preferably soaked overnight)

*cashew nut cream

Blend/process the dates, almonds and orange juice. Mix with all other ingredients except for the cashew nut cream. Press into a cake dish and top with the cashew nut cream and some extra shredded coconut.

*To make the cashew nut cream, I soak about a cup of cashews with about a cup of filtered or spring water, for about half an hour.  Once soaked, whiz them up in a blender, and add a dash of vanilla - if it's too runny, just add some more nuts.  Try not to eat too much before spreading over cake!


Refrigerate until set.

For more information on food and recipes, check out Food Renegade and Simple Lives Thursday


Detox / Retox: Old Habits Die Hard!

After approximately four years of publicly declaring that I never get sick... I finally have. In an effort to contain my infectious coughing and sneezing, and watery eyes, I have been holed up in bed the past two days. I completely forgot how awful a common cold could be! I really struggled to come up with an appropriate title for this piece, however, as you will gather, the essence is why holidaying with old friends is bad for your health!

I have been in my beloved Melbourne now close to some three weeks - taking a small sojourn away from my healthy north coast life; my other life! Apart from a couple of weeks break from university, and staying with my parents, what this actually means for me is that the days are about 10 degrees cooler than what they are up north, however unlike the north coast, houses in the cooler climes are actually set up for winter, and are generally insulated with heating!

In many ways, if you're really not a fan of the cold, which I'm not, then it is better to be in Melbourne, as it is absolutely freezing on the north coast in the evenings! As it is such a humid and warm place for the majority of the year, the houses there are simply not decked out for cold weather, so if you live in a weather board shack circa 1950s as I do, once that sun and the temperature goes down, it is very much like living in a canvas tent! Brr...

However, apart from the few weeks off uni, and catching up with family and old friends, my entire lifestyle seems to take a beating whenever I return to Melbourne. Due to the steady stream of 'catch ups' and parties, not only do I find myself eating out and drinking more, but I am also away from my juicer, trays of wheatgrass and my veggie garden.

Retox. That's right. The opposite of detox - which is how I would describe my usual north coast lifestyle!

Whereas I would ordinarily commence my days with a fresh wheatgrass shot followed by a green veggie juice, here I have found myself on more than three occasions, waking up hungover from catching up with old friends the night before, and unable to find a juice bar, or let alone, stomach a veggie juice, subsequently found myself in the closest cafe ordering a soy flat white and some variation of beans on a toasted white sourdough, dripping with butter! White bread and butter! I mean, seriously!

The perfect hangover food! ...and that's the biggest problem with hangovers. The cravings.

Having said that, cravings for hot chips and fried food are not the only problems with hangovers. It also means that sleep patterns are thrown into chaos. Unlike most folk I know, I've never been good at sleeping when hungover, so on these occasions, I only ever seem to catch around 3 hours sleep. And man, do I feel it!

Sleep is essential for cellular growth and repair, and ideally, we should be aiming to get around 6 to 8 hours per night. However, when there's been a few wines involved, often it can be hard to get to sleep in the first place, or worse, if you've really had too many, you tend to crash out then wake up too early, feeling sluggish, dehydrated and wishing you didn't open that last bottle! ...and then you end up fighting off the fried food cravings, until finally you swear that you're not drinking again!

...and so, the cumulative effect of too much partying, too many catch ups, too much eating out, disturbed sleep and a change in climate, has completely degraded my immunity. Hence, I am now suffering with the worst cold known to man! Okay, maybe there's worse, but it's been such a long time, that I forgot just how rotten they can be!

It's a slippery slope. I guess I am weak when it comes to staying committed to my general rule of very minimal drinking and eating out when constantly invited to social occasions. And I'm not saying that I'm bullet-proof, either, but it is hard to stick to the rules when friends invite you around, or out for dinner. I want to see my friends, and don't want to decline on account of the menu.

Being known as a fickle killjoy is the last thing anyone wants (although I suspect this may be the case in some quarters!).

Apart from the past two days, I have had the best three weeks that I have had in a long time, so I've no regrets on the social front, despite the fact that I attribute my current ailment to this fun time.  I am however, very much looking forward to resuming my detox-esque lifestyle next week!

More importantly, one thing that this does do, is once again strengthen my resolve to continue on with my clean living, organic green juice, raw food, minimal alcohol and regular sleep lifestyle! Feeling the difference really does make all the difference, and affirms my belief that a healthy lifestyle, with clean air and lots of sunshine is the best weapon you can have in your arsenal against ill health!

To green veggie juice!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alternative Outfitters - Vegan Shoes and More!

It's been a while since I posted anything - I've been staying with my parents for a few weeks, and the new semester at uni has just recommenced... and trying to study via distance, externally is always MUCH easier in theory than in reality!

Instead, every time I jump online with the very best of intentions to download my lectures and get stuck into the readings, all of a sudden two hours has lapsed and I have found a million other more interesting sites such as exciting new food recipes, or the My Vegan Blog blog below!

I've just been checking out the vegan shoes, they're superb, and reasonably priced. I love the brown pumps - like REALLY love them!

Which ones do you like?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Green Gourmet Giraffe: Vegan Christmas Nut Roast and Salad

I just came across a delicious sounding vegan nut loaf on the Green Gourmet Giraffe blog. I can't wait to try this out tomorrow - a much nicer alternative to your average Sunday roast!


Green Gourmet Giraffe: Vegan Christmas Nut Roast and Salad

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Health: This is a MUST See

Please share this one around.

This is an absolutely brilliant presentation on the need for we, as a society to make a fundamental paradigm shift in our approach to illness.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


8 Steps to Good Health

It’s ALL About Detoxing the Mind and Body – And Maintaining It!

Since my own brush with ill health, many people have asked me for tips and advice about the changes I have made in my life in order to facilitate wellness and the road to recovery.  

I was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and subsequently, underwent surgery and chemotherapy, the disastrous effects of which have taken years to recover from.  For me, it's a classic case of  'if I knew then what I know now', I would never, ever have gone down the 'modern' medicine road.  It's barbaric.

Instead I would have made the same fundamental lifestyle changes that I have since made, only much, much earlier. 

Aah... hindsight... 

I remember laughing at a colleague from work once, when she said to me that I should not be dying my hair punk-rock red, and that I should make peace with my inner demons and adopt an organic, vegan lifestyle when it came to food.  

She was suggesting that I meditate the cancer away!  I thought she was nuts - turns out, she was right.  

She knew, because she had also been there, as sadly, many of us will at some point in our lives, given currently, 1 in 2 people will get some form of the disease at some point in their lives... 

But the good news is, that it doesn't have to be this way!    

We are all in control of our lives and the things we put in our bodies.   

The following information is basically a summary of all of the information that I have read since 2006, and the one thing that consistently comes up is that we need to limit and restrict the amount of carcinogens we put in and on our bodies - it's not rocket science and it's pretty obvious when you think about it.  I can't really take credit for that bit of advice, but the reality is, even when we know something is bad for us, we often tend to dismiss it saying 'but it's only a little bit' or 'just this once won't hurt', but the reality is, that chemicals and toxins have a cumulative effect, and this builds up over a lifetime, ultimately resulting in statistics such as the one above.

Much of the knowledge I have gained has been from the following excellent sources:

Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr
The pH Miracle by Robert Young
Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine by Dr Gabriel Cousins
Raw Food Life Force Energy by Natalia Rose

 1. Acid/Alkaline pH diet 

It's all about balance.  On a pH scale of 1 to 14, 7 is considered neutral.  Below 7 is acid and above 7 is alkaline. The optimum pH level you should strive for is 7.365.  Basically, acidity lowers the pH of the body and this creates the perfect environment for cancer cells to thrive, and the number one cause of cancer is a lack of oxygen in the cellular environment. 

By eating alkaline foods you are ensuring that your body is supplied with oxygen. 

Cancer cells, or free radicals as they are also known, are anaerobic - they thrive in oxygen depleted environment, meaning that they can't survive in an oxygen rich environment. Therefore, when the body and blood is too acidic, it creates an anaerobic environment, the perfect breeding ground for any number of ailments to fester. 

When the body is in an alkaline state, it makes it difficult for disease to manifest, and so by following a diet rich in alkalising foods, you are reducing the possibility for bad cells to exist.  

The pH Miracle by Robert Young is an excellent book for this.  It explains this in great detail and it makes perfect sense.  There is also myriad websites with lists acid forming and alkalising food.
2. Go vegan

Animal products are acidic and you want an alkaline body.  Meat and dairy create mucus in the body and mucus acts like glue, resulting in clogged elimination organs (more on this below at point 6).  

Aflaxtoxins are carcinogenic - they are fungi found in peanuts, cashews, peanut butter and stored grains - and stored grains are sadly what is fed to cows (and most farmed animals).  Sadly, the elusive happy cow is just that: elusive.  Agriculture has slowly turned into agribusiness in this day and age of factory farmed animals.  They do not graze happily on green grass pastures as they would outside of an industrial setting. Instead, they are fed grain, which in addition, is usually GM, which comes out in their milk. The problem with GM grain is that the grains have been genetically engineered to be pesticide resistant, meaning that they can withstand the pesticides which are sprayed onto the crops (yet another reason to avoid GM foods!).

You can think of factory farms as giant concentration camps for animals.  They know what's coming! Furthermore, in order to keep the animals in such close confines in the factory farm setting, they are vaccinated and often receive growth hormones and antibiotics in order to prevent the spread of disease.  All of this ultimately comes out in their milk, which of course when consumed by humans, also ends up in our bloodstreams. You are what you eat... and what the animal that you eat, eats! 

There's many other reasons aside from the ill effects that it can have on your health, to abstain from meat and dairy products, such as the cruelty of the dairy industry, and the impact that cattle farms have on the environment.

The same goes for chickens, aside from the cruelty of caged animals, chickens are often fed growth hormones to speed up their growth which remains in their bodies and comes out in their eggs, and the chicken that people eat.  This is, quite literally foul - excuse the pun!  As you can well imagine, the fast food industry is the absolute worst offender - minimum care for maximum profit.

3. Eat 80% raw and living food, 20% cooked - cooking at boiling point for 3 minutes kills ALL enzymes 

Enzymes are essential for the proper functioning of every living thing, including the human body. They are required for everything we do, from blinking to DNA repair.    We could not function without them.  Vitamins, minerals nor hormones can do their work without enzymes, yet whenever we cook food above 50C, we destroy them. 

Raw and living foods (such as sprouts - alfalfa, mung beans, lentils etc) are full of enzymes and are so, so, so good for you.  Just soak 'em 12 - 24 hours depending on the grain, drain and rinse and in a few days, hey presto, sprout city.

Check out the Gerson Therapy - Max Gerson in the 1920s made amazing discoveries in treating disease with raw and live foods.

Unfortunately in this day and age, illness is a business run by pharmaceutical companies.  I for one do not believe that that these businesses are interested in curing anything - they are more interested in selling drugs.

Also check Dr Norman Walker - this dude lived till he was 116 and ate primarily only raw and living foods and juices.

4. Start each day with a green juice

I cannot stress the importance of this one.  Chlorophyll is the substance in plants that allows them to absorb light from the sun and convert that light into usable energy - when we drink green vegetable juice, be it from wheatgrass or any other green vegetable, we are quite literally drinking liquid sunshine!  

Every living thing depends on sunlight for its existence, including us! 

Plants take in the carbon dioxide that we give off, and in return, they give us oxygen - it's a really cool cycle. In addition to this, chlorophyll is related chemically to blood, with the main difference being that the main atom in hemoglobin (bloods oxygen transporter) is iron, while in chlorophyll it's magnesium.  Chlorophyll contains a powerful blood builder that's said to increase red blood cells, improve circulation, ease inflammation, oxygenate the body and counteract free radicals.  Not only is a daily green juice liquid sunshine, it is also quite literally liquid oxygen! 

Wheatgrass is the Grand Daddy of the green juice, containing vitamins A, C and E, as well as a compound called Laetrile which is believed to also have anti-tumour properties.  Is better than a cup of coffee (which incidentally is hugely acidic - a no, no)

I have championed spirulina for ages and take this regularly, either in powder or pill form, however there is controversy as to whether or not it's alkaline.  According to Robert Young, author of The pH Miracle,  because it is an algae, it is very acidic... but life is all about balance...

Along with most fruits, beetroot and carrots are very sugary and are to be avoided by anyone recovering from the big C - sugar suppresses the immune system and feeds cancer cells by causing blood sugar levels to spike. Once that happens the body releases insulin to bring blood sugar levels back to normal.  One of insulin's many functions is to promote cell growth - it doesn't discriminate between good and bad cells.

5. Drink pure spring water, if not spring then filtered

Tap water is heavily treated and full of chlorine and heavy metals - You can still drink it and your body will filter it, however this puts unnecessary stress on your liver. Spring water is by far the best option as it contains natural minerals, but unfortunately, unless you live close to a natural spring, drinking 2 litres of Evian everyday could ruin you financially!  

Alternatively, you should drink filtered water where possible.  We are made up of 70% water and 30% mass - essential for every bodily function.  Proper hydration is required for cells, tissues and organs.  You can re-mineralize water by adding a pinch of celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt.

6. Colonics and detoxing 

Yep.  I'm afraid so. Not just for celebrities and the posh! It doesn't matter how healthy your diet is, if your intestines are impacted with rotting fecal matter, bacteria will seep back into your blood stream, resulting in fatigue and a general feeling of being run down.  It'a called toxemia. As discussed above in point one, it makes the blood environment once again acidic.  

Most people, no matter how healthy their diet is, are carrying around impacted fecal waste which when the pipes get backed up, the stagnant food (dairy, wheat, meat, fish, processed food) hardens and rots which inevitable will make us sick and tired - it is the same principle as leaving an empty rubbish bin overflowing - you wouldn't do it, because it begins to rot, and it stinks!

An unhealthy colon impacted with built up fecal waste also means that the good, essential nutrients are unable to be adequately absorbed and reduces the production of good bacteria.  The walls of the small intestine are lined with nutrient absorbing type hairs known as villi.  Basically as food makes its way through the digestive system through the colon, the villi draws in the nutrients as food is passed through, and so if the intestine is clogged with rotting waste, the nutrients of the food you have eaten are unable to be absorbed as optimally as they should be. 

The state of your colon really does have a lot to do with your health generally, and in fact Dr Norman Walker, one of the pioneers regarding colon health attributes 80% of disease in people results from an unhealthy colon.  This explains why people get run down and tired, suffering from all sorts of ailments – fatigue, eczema, etc…  The shit (excuse the pun) quite literally continues to decompose and rot, and ultimately seeps back into the blood stream. Yuk.

Check the book on Colon Health by Norman Walker - very well known and respected.

7. Fasting

Much research has been done into the benefits of giving the body a break from digestion and allowing cells to regenerate by having one to three day vegetable juice fasts.  I did a 7 day fast earlier in the year at a retreat in Thailand, and I am not kidding, it was the best thing I have ever done for my body in my life – and after experiencing how fantastic and healthy I felt after that, I made a pact to myself that if I ever get any secondary cancer, I will be checking myself right back in! 

I did mine at  and it was AMAZING!!

I would recommend this to everyone for an annual body tune up – hey, we book our cars in once or twice a year, but how often do we take care of our own health?

Having said that, you don’t need to go to a retreat to not eat, although it is much easier with the guidance of experienced staff, and the support of fellow fasters!  You could do it at home, however it does require a lot of discipline.

Fasting and colonics are talked about at length in the pH Miracle book, as well as many books on juicing and de-toxing. 

Natalia Rose is another good author

8. Your skin is your biggest cell

DO NOT put anything on your skin that you wouldn't eat

There's a reason why most products have warnings about skin irritations and getting shit in your eye - because they are incredibly toxic – if it has a warning on it that it might irritate, it’s probably not really wise to use it. 

As a general rule, you shouldn't put anything on your skin that you wouldn't actually eat yourself.  This includes most sunscreens (petroleum based!) as well as hair dyes!  There are so many natural alternatives you can use which are environmentally friendly, as well as friendly for you - in the long term.

I have found that moisturising with coconut or almond oil works really well.  Almond oil in particular is an excellent emollient for the skin - it's actually used in a lot of beauty products, but I just apply it in its concentrated form to my skin, straight from the bottle.  I've also found that when I have had bouts of eczema, almond oil is one of the only moisturisers that doesn't actually irritate my skin further.  

If you have dry hair or a dry scalp, you could also massage coconut oil into your hair to help replenish lost moisture.  I discovered this little trick when I lived in India - there's a reason why the women there (and also in Sri Lanka) have such thick, shiny, healthy looking hair - apparently every Indian mother sits down once a week in the evening with her daughters to give her a head massage using coconut oil.  It stimulates the hair follicles which promotes growth, as well as moisturises the hair.  I love this idea, and I love coconut oil and have been doing it ever since.

Mashed up avocados also makes an excellent mask for dry skin.  Apply to any dry areas, leave on for a few minutes and then rinse off.  Your skin will feel amazing after this!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Calling all Goths! A Rocking Vegan Pad Thai

This one's for all you goth vegan metal heads!

I just found this website - it's fantastic.  I couldn't decide how to categorise it, if at all, so instead, I've decided to leave it - right here on the home page. It really is hilarious, and combines food and music, with a vegan twist.

I love it - talk about dismantling the vegan hippy stereotype!

My hat's off to the Vegan Black Metal Chef - Pad Thai! mmm...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Idea for Excess Juice Pulp # 1 Carrot Hummus

I'm an avid juicer, and like me, those of you who juice everyday will almost always end up with more pulp than you do juice.  It’s just a part of the juicing package.  Juicing can be expensive, especially if you don’t grow your own produce, and so in light of the rising cost of food, and my very tight student budget, I’ve been trying to get creative with re-using my juice pulp.

I have a few ideas for re-working juice pulp into something fabulous other than compost, but this morning's recycled pulp was given a new lease of life in the form of a hummus - Carrot Hummus. Yum!

Suffice to say, if you are juicing mixed vegetable and fruit juices, you will need to plan ahead and separate your pulp if you intend on using the pulp of only one particular item.  It’s kind of annoying, but it’s worth it.

This is one of the easiest dips to make - in fact, most dips are easy.  It’s pretty much a variation of hummus, with carrot pulp thrown in.  Not only does it save your juice pulp going to waste, but it also gives the hummus a lovely orange colour, and a delicious sweet flavour. 

You could use whatever hummus recipe you like, but mine goes a little something like this….

1 Tin or 400gms Cooked Chickpeas
3 Garlic Cloves
1tsp Cumin
1tsp Cayenne Pepper
1Tbs Tahini
Juice of a Large Lemon
Filtered Water or Olive Oil (enough to make a creamy consistency)
Pulp of Two Carrots
Himalayan or Celtic Salt
Cracked Pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and enjoy!

*All of the measurements are approximate – tweak yours till you are happy with the flavour!

What do you do with your left over pulp?  Would love to hear!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What's The Deal With The 'Recently Played' Playlist On The iPod?

Something very interesting occurred to me just last week.  After claiming to be a music nazi to some relatively new friends over the weekend, I was charged with the task of assuming the DJ roll which ordinarily, I’d insist upon, or somehow wrangle my way in and take charge anyway, however this time, given the differences in our ages and backgrounds, and eager to impress, I asked the question; ‘what kind of a mood are you in?’. 

Expecting the standard reply of something along the lines of pop, twang, 80s, rock, et cetera, I have to admit that I was a little caught off guard when they took my iPod from me, and unanimously decided to adjust the settings to shuffle, and hit play on the Recently Played playlist. 

Not that that bothered me at all, as it could only affirm my cracking taste in tunes, however it was risky.  I was concerned that at any moment, The Carpenters, or one of the many guided meditations I had been listening to, would start playing, leaving me red faced and picking up the pieces of my broken street cred, whilst listening to some soporific articulation on being true to oneself, and my divine life purpose!  Oh, the irony!

Fortunately, this didn’t happen, however what did happen struck me as rather unusual.  I’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s on my high rotation list in any given month– mainly because I suffer from mild bouts of iPod fatigue from time to time, yet still make the same selections as the day before.  I can honestly say that from day to day, week to week and even month to month, I know exactly what’s been played on my iPod.  Or so I thought. 

I love my iPod.  I do.  Possibly a little too much.  I absolutely cannot be without it.  I currently live in a regional part of Australia, and outside of the major cities, it’s a case of mission impossible to hear decent tunes, or any sort of radio show on the local airwaves.  Suffice to say, my little black iPod has played a crucial, and very significant part in the preservation of my sanity during this time. 

Music brings me joy, and at some point of every day, on several occasions, I scroll through the various playlists, podcasts, artists or albums, make a selection and let the music fulfill it’s purpose.  However on this particular occasion, what followed was a succession of songs from the so-called Recently Played playlist, which I’m certain, I had never played, let alone realised were actually on there in the first place!  How could this be? 

On closer inspection, not only did the Recently Played playlist reveal a number of songs that I had not listened to in months, if at all, but it didn’t display most of the songs I had recently listened to, including the guided meditations!  In fact, if a stranger were to scroll through it, according to my iPod, not only would I appear to be Lee Hazlewood’s number one fan, but it would appear that I’d never listened to Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky or My Morning Jacket's Evil Urges, despite the fact that they, amongst many others, are on high rotation, and have been for years!  And where was Mazzy Star’s So Tonight That I Might See? – I revisited that album just last week.  Surely that’s recent enough?

And what about the Top 25 Most Recently Played playlist?  Imagine my surprise when the songs featured on this particular list were just as out of whack, and featured Blinking Lights (For Me), a song by the Eels, a band I’ve never really been able to get into, and a song that as far as I’m aware, I’ve never heard before in my life!  Of course I played the track to make sure I wasn’t going completely bonkers, and just as I’d suspected – no recognition.  None.  What are the Eels doing in my Top 25 Most Recently Played List?!?  And more to the point, how did it come to be on my iPod in the first place?!?

This got me thinking about an article I read in 2006 about the randomness of the shuffle function.  Suspicions were raised when according to the author of the article, despite the thousands of songs on his iPod, when the random function was selected, the iPod undeniably favoured Steely Dan over all of the other thousands of choices!  Could this mean that the programmers at Apple are big Steely Dan fans, and the shuffle function isn’t so random afterall? 

And what is going on with my Recently Played and Top 25 Most Recently Played playlist!?  It’s almost as if the iPod has a life of its own!  A strange one, too I might add, but hey, I’ve always maintained that you can’t argue taste – even if it is with a machine!  Sigh… I’m sure there must be a perfectly rational explanation for this, but until then, it just simply doesn’t make sense. 

I’ll be honest; I’m not at all techno-savvy whatsoever, so if anyone else has the answer, please can ya let me know?  It could spare us all from a potentially similar awkward moment at our next soiree!