(Thank you @maverickbeanco for introducing me to Quinoa’s cousin. We get along very well).
Meet LUPIN. The next superfood you need to know about. Thanks to old mate, this BB is gluten-free, super high in protein and fibre, low in carbohydrates and zero saturated fats… but I can ensure that it is full of taste, stunning texture, natural energy and overloaded with nutrients.
(MWA – love u Lupin)
3 ripe bananas, smashed
3 free range eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
200g Lupin flour
2 heaped tbsp LSA, Psyllium Husk or Ground Flaxseed
Optional: 1 heaped tbsp Monk Fruit/Stevia (if you want to make it taste like that sweet store bought banana bread!)
2 heaped tbsp raisins or sultanas
1/4 cup granola, mixed seeds & nuts or Muesli mix for the topping and base.
Preheat oven to 170C
Line a loaf tin with baking paper (approx 26 x 11cm)
Mix the smashed banana, eggs, honey, olive oil, baking soda and lemon/lime juice.
Stir in the Lupin Flour and LSA/Psyllium.
Fold in the sultanas/raisins.
Sprinkle half of the granola/seed mix into the base of the lined tin.
Transfer the banana bread mixture on top of the granola/seeds, into the lined tin (this will ensure a crunchy base AND topping)
Sprinkle the remaining granola/seed mix on top of the mixture
Bake for 45-60 minutes (checking after 35mins every 5-10 mins with a skewer).
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the tin.
Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days at room temperature, or covered in the fridge for up to 7 days!
NOTE: Covering the loaf with foil whilst baking will stop it from browning and burning too fast if you can see the bread overcooking.
NOTE 2: I love storing half of my loaf in the freezer so that I can save it for when guests come over!
NOTE 3: It can be fun to decorate the top of your loaf in various ways – granola, nuts, seeds, or even a sliced banana for a worthy Instagram pic (hash-tagging #flavourfoodflow of course!)
Who would have thought that this health & wellness chick
would have a crack at a 9-5 desk job (and love it?)
For those of you unaware, my side gig from @flavourfoodflow is actually a Bachelor of Commerce with a Marketing Major at the University of Sydney (yes, my inner nerd). I am due to graduate at the end of this year and so, with graduation just around the corner, I chose to partake in an Industry Placement subject. Essentially, IPP (for short) provides you with the relevant experience inside a real-life company! The best (or for some, worst) part of this subject is that you had to apply through a formal application process – resume and grade application, online interview and an assessment centre. For those selected to continue, the subject coordinators matched you up with a company they felt best suited you. I was extremely lucky to be paired up with Nespresso and its Marketing Department in their Head Office located in North Sydney.
10 weeks of coffee HERE… WE… GO!
Three Valuable Lessons.
Being the busy-body I am, I felt it was necessary to give corporate business life a crack! From this experience, I have 3 valuable lessons that will not only help direct my personal growth and future career path, but hopefully also inspire yours.
Firstly, the importance of work/life balance and adhering to your values within the work place. For me, this is a particular focus on mental health, physical health and ensuring adequate nutrition.
Secondly, the significance of working for a company who shares the same beliefs/interests to your own, and how a passion for what you do can assist with better work outcomes. At Nespresso, I thrived whenever I was working on a project that aligned closely with my strengths – such as the creative elements, briefing design agencies and the Wellness Initiatives. I can not stress enough how important it is to work for a company that you love – the product, the people, the place and the passion.
Thirdly, I learnt the power of feeling busy in a job that you enjoy, helping to ensure that days are not wasted. Reflecting back on my experience at Nespresso (Marketing department), the idea of a ‘desk job’ no longer holds negative connotations, but rather presents itself as a possible career direction that I would love to explore. Like they say do not judge a book by its cover, you equally need to try before you buy – if you have never experienced a certain job role, you can not immediately jump to the conclusion you will not enjoy it. For me, I have always thought I would never enter a business environment (the usual 9-5 gig). Now, I can recognise that I will enter a 9-5 role if it interests me, and I can rock up to work every day loving the life I live.
My fav desk snack – Plant Based Bounce Balls. This kept me from hitting that 3pm slump.
Expectation VS Reality.
I was expecting to learn a lot during the ten weeks. As most of you know, I work alongside my Commerce degree as a wellness influencer, health coach and yoga teacher. Nespresso’s corporate business environment took me out of my comfort zone and I was concerned about the difference between my current experience and a full day behind a desk. I knew it would be increasingly difficult to remain physically active, socialise and see my family – my life priorities! I felt exceptionally occupied over the last 10 weeks – fancy way of saying BUSY AF! However each day was sensational. I can assure that my time-management skills have improved beyond measure, and my ability to stay organised is my new secret weapon.
My first day involved the usual office tour and meet and greets. My Supervisor, with her previous experience in the Advertising world, instantly inspired me! I was also aware of her frequent appearances on the Gruen Transfer – now that is pretty cool. With her guidance, I learnt quickly about who did what, seeing which areas best resonated with my interests. My absolute favourite was the Public Relations team (PR for short), digital marketing and product promotion. As you can imagine, the digital space sparked an interest in me because it is quite similar to some of the social media projects I work on myself for @flavourfoodflow.
9 to Thrive.
I loved working on projects where I could see the impact of my contributions – stay tuned with the upcoming promotional antics of Nespresso – I DID THAT! Watching hard work unfold found myself waking up with immense excitement on the weekdays placement fell on. I will admit that it was all a bit nerve-wracking and foreign at first, however the more experience I had in such tasks, the more confident I became. I stayed true to my values and refused to become stressed or anxious, ensuring that my days were enriching.
This is my moto, and I encourage you all to employ this foundation within your own career paths – do you wish to work to live? Or live to work? Food for thought…
I stayed true to my values and refused to become stressed or anxious, ensuring that my days were enriching.
My Love/Hate Relationship with Technology.
Yes, computers are great. Yes, smart phones make digital marketing possible. Yes, e-mail is super convenient and an easy way to reach people. BUT I stand by the belief that technological advancements have both positive and negative effects in the workplace. Nothing is done by a pen and paper these days, so it is not surprising that a vast amount of time at the office is spent working on a computer at your desk. I am an extremely active individual (ya think?!), previously working in jobs that require a lot of physical movement. So, as you can imagine, I found sitting at a desk for extended periods of time to be a significant challenge. At times, it made me feel restless and lethargic, but I constantly reminded myself how important it was for me to experience this style of work if Marketing is the direction I wish to go down in the future. On the other hand, it also taught me another one of those valuable lessons. Howto be flexible in an entirely inflexible situation. My resolution to the issue involved multiple ‘rest’ breaks (Nespresso coffee on hand at all times). My second resolution was to take advantage of the close proximity of Nespresso HQ – and by close, I mean walking distance. A one hour walk home from work may not suit everybody, but for me, it was magical. Bringing my runners to work, changing from heels to sneakers before I left the office at 5pm…GENIUS. I went from tired to extremely awake and rejuvenated by the time I arrived home.
On the other hand, it also taught me another one of those valuable lessons. Howto be flexible in an entirely inflexible situation.
Bringing my runners to work, changing from heels to sneakers before I left the office at 5pm… GENIUS. I went from tired to extremely awake and rejuvenated by the time I arrived home.
To anyone from Nespresso whom I have been lucky enough to work alongside with, I want to say THANK YOU. You were incredibly welcoming, nurturing and taught me everything I now know about business life (high expectations follow as a result!)
SO there you have it. An insight into my experience at a business job (yippee!).
Working with a recognizable brand is motivating, and I highly recommend giving it a go. On the other hand, in terms of my personal growth and ‘where to from here’, I remain convinced that a healthy and active lifestyle will stand as the foundation for my career.
“I should stretch more” “I need to do more yoga” “It’s time to book a massage…”
Then read on…
Stretching is the new hot topic in the health and wellness sphere. But WHY?
Because it is a life-long habit that provides endless benefits. From better digestion to full-body flexibility, say goodbye to lower back pain and repetitive stress injuries.
The best part is that now there are places like Stretch Studio in Sydney’s Double Bay, where you can have a professional stretcher called a Flexologist assist you with a full body stretch! They are specially trained in the art of assisted stretching (um, cool?), and taught how to match the resistance of each client, knowing how far to stretch them and when to stop (which I highly regard).
It honestly is the best way to achieve a deeper, more controlled stretch that just feels so damn great!
Sounds obvious, but there is more to flexibility than simply lifting your leg behind your head! Flexibility can help to reduce constant muscle pain, and decrease your risk of injury. Tara Romeo, CSCS, assistant director of the Professional Athletic Performance Center in New York says “believe it or not, back pain may come from tight hamstrings”. Tight hamstring muscles can affect the status of your lower back and spine health, causing repetitive pain and discomfort.
On the other hand, flexibility can help to reduce your risk of injury. Whether it be through playing sport, a gym class, Pilates or a run on the beach, the more flexible you are, the softer and more supple your muscles are. Whereas tight muscles mean less room to move, increasing the chance of tearing when overused or overstressed.
We all want to age gracefully on the inside AND the outside. So many of us spend lots of dollars on skin products, hair and nail treatments, all the effort to keep our outside looking fresh and clean! However, so often we forget the importance of posture and how much it impacts our ageing process – physically AND mentally.
Posture is more than simply sitting up tall with your shoulders rolled down your back – it is about correctly aligning your spin to allow the free flow of oxygen, proper functioning of your vital organs and muscle activation. Bad posture is the result of tight muscles, which is ultimately the result of muscle weakness.
Increased Energy levels
There is a reason why people attend health and yoga retreats – the days are full of relaxation, moving meditation, stretch sessions – leaving you feeling energised and reawakened. Stretching, whether it be assisted or on your own, helps to soften the muscles, allowing for extra blood flow and oxygen to travel around the body. The oxygen and blood can move more freely around the muscles and internal pathways, getting rid of any unnecessary dust that might make you feel drowsy, tight and overworked.
Stretching first thing in the morning also helps to wake up the nervous system, gently shocking the body after being reclined and still for a solid 8-9 hours. Our body naturally slows down over night as it concentrates on the important internal tasks such as digestion, recovery and cell rejuvenation. However, this means that it needs an extra bit of “oomph” in the morning to get going, hence why a morning stretch as you first wake up feels so damn good! It is also why practicing a stretch session such as yoga on an empty stomach when you wake, is the best time also!
Sooooo many of our digestive issues can stem from a tight and unhappy muscular system. Tight hamstrings can lead to belly issues, a sore back can aggravate your gut and tense shoulders will cause you to hunch over, which may also disrupt digestion.
Forward folds with a gentle bend to your knees can help to relieve trapped flatulence (glamorous word for gas), that essentially causes sharp pain, hard bellies and unwanted bloating. Laying supine (on your back), hugging your knees into your chest either simultaneously or one after the other, can also help to stretch our the lower back, relax the belly and relieve the muscles that surround the digestive tract.
3 years ago, I found the practice of Yoga – originally, it was for 2 reasons: to help clear the mind, and to help stimulate my digestive system after multiple years of issues, pain and irritation. Yoga has seriously changed my life, especially when it comes to my digestive health. If I ever feel my belly becoming aggravated, bloated or gassy (sorry not sorry), I perform a few sun salutations that involve a stretch of the entire system, specifically in my front and back side body.
Decreased Water Retention
Have you ever noticed your face and fingers puff up whenever you are stressed, overworked and tired? That may be your body holding onto the water within your system, rather than circulating it around.
Stretching, like it does for oxygen and blood, helps to soften the muscles and surrounding tissues, allowing for an easier movement of water around the body. Water retention in the body can make us feel uncomfortable in the skin we are in, causing you to feel puffy, heavy and sluggish – no thank you!
Assisted or individual stretching helps to alleviate any blocked pathways that inhibit a smooth flow of water around your internal system – which may also help to circulate the nutrients and vitamins that we consume, ensuring they get to the necessary places!
Home-made Chocolate & Hazelnut Spread, using nothing but the beauty of natural ingredients.
Whenever I am walking home from the bus stop, I always detour via Scoop Wholefoods in Mosman. I browse for about 10 minutes, as I source out at least $5 worth of goodies due to the Eftpos minimum ha!
However it is worth it. Each time, I leave with different ingredients, eager to get home and whip up a storm in my kitchen!
Today was a Nut Day; hazelnut and macadamia
Something a little diverse, and certainly something a little tasty.
When you buy nuts, you can do one of 2 things.
Store them in an air-tight jar in the fridge for snack purposes
Blend up a Nut Butter Creation!
I always choose 2.
1 cup hazelnuts
1 heaped tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp honey
2 heaped tbsp cacao powder
2-3 tbsp water
Blend the hazelnuts in a food processor until finely chopped
Melt the honey and coconut oil, adding into the Nut mixture
Add 1 tbsp water, blend
Add the cacao powder, blend
Add the rest of the water & cacao nibs
Blend until a smooth, rich and fluffy texture forms – depending on your blender, you may need more wet ingredients for a smoother consistency. However, if you like your nut spread crunchy, then adapt to suit your preference!
Only an hour out of Sydney.
Amidst the nature Australia is known for – beautiful bushland, clean air, green trees and peaceful surroundings.
All these years of me taking 3-4 weeks off work to venture off overseas, when this piece of magic was available at Sydney’s doorsteps!
If you were to ask me about a month ago, I would have told you that there is no way I would find relaxation in anywhere but an Island; a tropical sunny holiday with beach, sand and sun. However, after staying at Billabong Retreat, I managed to find a point of mental clarity and stillness within the space of 3 days.
I made my way to Billabong Retreat via train, which departed from Central Station in the early afternoon. Arriving just in time for the welcome session and arvo Yoga Class. I was greeted with a smile by the friendly Taxi Driver who services the guests, transporting them from the train station at Vineyard to the retreat HQ!
Upon my arrival, I was taken to my room. I must admit, I was upgraded (life goals!), to the groovy Treehouse at Number 4. Not only did this room have 2 beds, but it also had 2 baths – one in the bathroom and one on the balcony. Ah, heaven! The room was fully equipped with tea of all sorts, a kettle, hot water bottles, a heater, EcoDownUnder towels and linen, Epsom Salts, a sound system, a fruit bowl… it was divine. I was also happy to see that Billabong is completely Eco-friendly, everything is recyclable and/or reusable, organic and nature-loving!
“2 baths… one in the bathroom and one on the balcony…“
In terms of the structure of the days? The true beauty lay in the fact that there was structure, but it was not forced upon you. Yes there were distinct meal times, sunrise yoga, afternoon tea, wellness session, but there was also no one knocking at your door demanding your attendance! If you felt up to it, then it was waiting for you with open arms. If you preferred to take a fresh air stroll or an afternoon snooze, then this was also encouraged. Choice – absolutely necessarily for someone like myself.
The food. Now this is where my head, heart, mind, body AND soul were completely sold. The food was organic, fresh and entirely plant based. They also catered for all food and dietary requirements, offering a variety of options to cater for varying tastebuds. My favourite was the Polenta slice and green veggie salad.. OH, and the delicious buckwheat and banana pancakes with vegan creamy sauce. YUM!
“They also catered for all food and dietary requirements… my favourite was the delicious buckwheat and banana pancakes with vegan creamy sauce… YUM”
The yoga. Ahhh, my favourite! A combination of gentle Yinyasa to wake the body of a morning, and a relaxing Yin practice to balance the Yang. Funnily enough, I only did 2 of the yoga classes. Why? Well, being a frequent yogie myself, I quite enjoyed the time “off” away from the mat… it also meant I enjoyed a sleep in for the first time in AGES. But for anyone new to Yoga, or for those who are constantly saying “I must do more yoga” – then Billabong Retreat is calling your name.
In addition, the workshops were mind-blowing. From learning how to ferment your own veggies and create your own kombucha, to adopting new knowledge about gut health and the gut brain relationship. For anyone that knows me well, you are aware of how much I LOVE talking about the significance of a healthy belly – hence, the Health Fundamentals package totally aligned with my values and beliefs.
“The yoga… combination of gentle Vinyasa to wake the body of a morning, and a relaxing Yin practice to balance the Yang…”
I can safely say I slept the entire train trip home – waking up upon my arrival at Central station feeling energised, relaxed and eager to conquer life!