Wellness

Christmas Gift Guide: 8 Beautiful Gifts for the Soul Sister in Your Life

I LOVE Christmas! I love everyone coming together, I love cooking and eating together, and I love giving.

Christmas is just around the corner so I thought I'd share a few beautiful things that would make the perfect gift for the soul sister in your life.

LOQI Shopping Bag
This super sweet eco bag is water resistant, can carry up to 20kgs and folds down into a tiny little parcel. Perfect for Sundays at the farmers markets!

MANIAMANIA Eternium Necklace
Lusting after this beautiful necklace! The perfect gift for a special soul sister.

Himalayan Salt Lamps
These lamps not only look gorgeous and brighten up any room, but they are believed to remove moisture from the air, reduce excessive positive ions and help catalyse your sleep-wake cycle so you can sleep easy.

Danielle LaPorte's #Truthbomb Card Deck
Beautiful cards with beautiful messages. To uplift and inspire your soul sisters. 

Herbs
Herbs are the gift that just keeps giving! A few packets of seeds, or some seedlings potted in a hand-painted pot are a fun gift that will provide happiness and nourishment for years to come.

SIGG Water Bottle
Keep your girl hydrated with this beautifully designed bottle.

Sanctum Organics Body Balm
A lush, hydrating body balm that's organic and local. 

Dharma Bums Psychedelic Glass Printed Yoga Legging
Fun, vibrant yoga leggings from an awesome Aussie label.

 

Fran xx

 

Paleo Pancakes

One of my favourite things to do on the weekend is to wake everyone up with pancakes first thing in the morning. I have tried so many different recipes, and this simple recipe is my favourite - nut-free, requires few ingredients, and the pancakes are so fluffy and delicious.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

8 eggs
4 heaped tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp lemon juice
rind of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup raw grass-fed butter or coconut oil
Fruit and raw honey to serve

METHOD

1. Add eggs, coconut flour and lemon rind to a mixing bowl. Add baking soda to mixture and directly drop lemon juice onto baking soda to allow activation (your own little science experiment!). Mix thoroughly to combine.
2. Preheat a non-stick frypan to medium heat.
3. Melt 1 teaspoon of butter or coconut oil to coat the pan.
4. Add a spoonful of batter at a time to pan until you reach your desired pancake size. 5. Cook pancakes until golden on the bottom, and then flip and cook until golden on the other side.
6. Continue until you have used all of the mixture, continuing to add butter or coconut oil between cooking each pancake (for extra-golden pancakes!).
7. Serve right away with fresh fruit and a drizzle of raw honey.

How to Make Bone Broth

My favourite way to have broth - with avo and a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice!

My favourite way to have broth - with avo and a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice!

Making your own broth is so quick and easy, involving *almost* no preparation. I love using the slow cooker as you can just "set and forget" your broth.

When it comes to animal foods, quality is key! Be sure to ask your local organic farmer/butcher for organic, grass-fed beef bones or organic chicken carcasses. Bones are super cheap, and this broth is so nourishing and a delicious base or flavour addition to many recipes.


 

SLOW COOKER BROTH

TOTAL TIME: 4-24 HOURS SERVES: 12

Banana + Chai Smoothie

I always wake up hours before everyone else on the weekend! So sometimes I have a sneaky pre-breakfast smoothie! This smoothie was a real treat. I love chai tea, and the flavour really added something to this frothy smoothie.

Serves one

Ingredients

1 large frozen banana
6 tbsp coconut milk
1 chai teabag handful of ice
1 tbsp raw cacao nibs

Method

1. Brew chai tea and allow to cool.
2. Throw tea, banana, ice and coconut milk in blender.
3. Serve with raw cacao nibs. Delish!

-Fran x

A Weekend in: Mudgee

I love to eat and I love getting out in nature. Mudgee is the perfect destination for both of those things. I take regular trips to the Mudgee region for great wine and food, to clear my head and immerse myself in nature.

Nature...

On the drive to Mudgee from Sydney, I love to stop in the Blue Mountains for a picnic and some fresh air.

I am always an early riser, even on holidays. On my weekends away in Mudgee, I use this time to do some yoga, go for a wander, or potter in the garden with a cup of tea. On my most recent trip, one of the mornings was spent on an 8km hike to Castle Rock at Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve. Awesome view, awesome company, and lots of wildlife spotting along the way!

Best eats and drinks

Baker Williams Distillery is a must-visit for quality, handcrafted spirits and liqueurs. The Cumquat Liqueur is crafted from my uncle's Cooyal cumquats, and their Butterscotch Schnapps is heavenly!

My favourite food and wine destination in Mudgee is Di Lusso. With a gorgeous dam-side view and Italian-style wine and food, I can't fault it. The Il Palio wine is my all-time favourite red. After lunch, the bocce arena is a great way to pass the afternoon.

Botobolar and Broombee both have lovely organic wines. Although I don't drink beer, I always take my friends to check out the brewery in town.

Until next time, dreaming of my next adventure!

-Fran

Breaky Smoothie

I love my smoothies THICK! And with added crunch. This breakfast smoothie is a regular favourite during summer. I always keep the fridge stocked with a variety of frozen fruits, and also freeze things such a spinach and coconut milk to add to smoothies and prevent food wastage!

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup macadamia milk (or milk of your choice)
1 egg (don't eat raw eggs too often, may lead to biotin deficiency)
1 tsp maca powder
2 brazil nuts (daily dose of selenium!)
Dash of ground cinnamon
Homemade paleo-friendly granola
A few strawberries and 1/4 ripe banana to serve

Method

1. Thouroughly blend banana, blueberries, macadamia milk, egg, maca and cinnamon. Should produce a thick 'ice cream' consistency.
2. Pour smoothie into a bowl. Top with sliced strawberries, banana and granola.
3. Eat with a spoon! You won't get through this super thick smoothie with a straw!

-Fran

6 Steps to Healing your Whole Self

Over the last decade I have seen countless doctors. I was told that my unrelenting exhaustion was just a stage, that I would grow out of it. I had almost given up, but mum encouraged me to give it one last go. I found an Integrative General Practitioner who ran every blood test under the sun, and shed some light on the way I was feeling.

We discovered imbalances with thyroid hormones, cortisol, MTHFR genetic mutations, pyroluria and a number of nutrient deficiencies. I am treating all of these imbalances naturally where possible, and I have found that diet and lifestyle factors are just as important as any medication or supplements for my healing.

Due to my Type A approach to life, I am always consciously working to reduce stress and promote peace and happiness. Whether you are suffering from autoimmune disorders, fatigue, depression, or any other condition, you must take a comprehensive approach to healing. We need to heal our whole selves: minds, bodies and the mind/body connection.

Here’s to balance…and scaling life back!


My guide to healing your whole self


+Scale back your life While you are healing, make your life more realistic. Don’t overcommit. Learn to say no.

+Sleep Make time for sleep. Have a hot shower, put a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow, and read a good book before bed. Diaphragmatic breathing slows the heartbeat and really helps me drift off to sleep.

+Move I stay active with yoga, rock climbing (when I am up to it), and walks. I do things I love that make me feel happy, without leaving me feeling depleted. Listen to your body, and let go of any feelings of guilt associated with skipping exercise in favour of sleep.

+Nourish your body Eat to nourish your body. Avoid foods that trigger inflammation in the body. Everyone is different, so learn and experiment to discover how best to support your body.

+Love your body Learning to love myself and be comfortable in my skin has significantly reduced stress in my life. Self-care routines such as candlelit epsom salt baths, dry body brushing, deep breathing and slathering your body in coconut oil can really help.

+Be happy Laugh. Sing. Spend time with people who value you. The real you. Spend time alone, and enjoy it.

This journey never ends, but I am learning to appreciate it is a constant reminder to look after myself the best I can.

 

A Note on Healing

A renowned address to incoming medical students reads as follows: "Half of everything we teach you is wrong... unfortunately we don't know which half."

Healing yourself, I mean truly healing yourself, takes dedication to expanding your knowledge and opening your mind, experimentation, patience and strength. Having struggled through varying states of fatigue for the last decade of my life has led me to spend hours poring through health-related websites, books and podcasts to gain an understanding of my health issues and what I can do to heal myself in the most natural way possible.

Be persistent. Be patient.

Doctor Kirk Parsley, a former US navy seal, stated "if you wait around for, you know, a gold standard study to tell you what to do with every patient, you're never going to be able to actually take action..." 

So investigate. Look beyond what standard medical and nutritional "best practice" says and experiment with diet and lifestyle changes that can only nurture your health and wellbeing. Do everything in your power to sleep soundly, nourish your body, be mindful, play and laugh.

Do everything in your power to heal yourself and discover true happiness.

-Fran

How to Make Kombucha

I had heard about the benefits of kombucha and bought a plain brewed bottle from Marrickville Farmers Markets in Sydney's Inner West a couple of months ago, and I LOVED it!

Not knowing any local SCOBY owners (that stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast), I braved the world wide web and tracked down a kombucha culture of my very own and started brewing.

Fermented foods are a big part of the paleo movement as more people are gaining an insight into the importance of gut healing for overall wellbeing. Not to mention, kombucha tastes amazing!

Kombucha is a fermented beverage with numerous health benefits, as it contains high levels of antioxidants, B vitamins, probiotics and glucaric acid. It is believed that kombucha can provide numerous health benefits, including:

  • Liver detoxification

  • Joint care

  • Improved digestion and gut health

  • Immune support

Best of all, kombucha is so easy to prepare yourself.


Ingredients

1 x kombucha SCOBY and around 1 cup of kombucha from a previous batch
3 litres filtered water
1 cup caster sugar
3 x organic black tea bags (I use Nature’s Cuppa Ceylon Tea Bags)
1 x 3 litre sterilised jar
1 x tea towel or breathable cloth
1 x ribbon

Method

  1. Boil water in a large pot.

  2. Once boiled, add tea bags and brew tea to desired strength. I leave mine in for around 5 minutes.

  3. Add caster sugar whilst hot and stir until sugar is dissolved.

  4. When the tea is cooled, pour it into the jar. Add the kombucha liquid and carefully place the SCOBY into the jar with clean hands.

  5. Cover jar with a tea towel and fasten with a ribbon or elastic band.

  6. Place jar in a dark place away from other fermenting foods.

  7. Leave kombucha to ferment undisturbed for around 14 days, and then taste the liquid with a straw. If you prefer a sweeter kombucha, you may wish to reduce the fermentation time. The warmer it is, the more quickly the kombucha ferments.

  8. When you are ready to harvest your kombucha, repeat steps 1 to 4, but this time, you will require two jars and a double batch of tea.

  9. With clean hands, remove the SCOBY and a cup of the liquid into a bowl. When the SCOBY is in the bowl, you should be able to separate it into two! That’s right, your SCOBY forms a baby SCOBY!

  10. Transfer the liquid to glass bottles. You may strain the kombucha as there will be some residue from the fermentation process.

  11. Enjoy!

You can store the kombucha in or out of the fridge, but it will continue to slowly ferment if you store it unrefrigerated. I drink my kombucha with a dash of soda water for some added fizz, but if you need extra flavour, experiment with adding strawberries, vanilla and ginger to your bottled kombucha.

I urge you to give kombucha a go! It tastes great, its good for your gut and it’s a bit of fun to tell friends and family you hoard and harvest blobs of bacteria.

If you’re looking for a kombucha SCOBY in Sydney, I am happy to help you out. If you are located elsewhere, ask your local health food shop or look online, but be a bit skeptical to ensure you get a well-bred SCOBY.

Happy fermenting!