Your Health Journey Begins In The Mind

I’ve noticed lately, that as a whole, us humans have been a bit down.

The election of Donald Trump stunned a lot of us! I know it was a slap in the face for me, and I could definitely see the same affect on many people in the small town that I live in. The continued protests at Standing Rock about the North Dakota Access Pipeline and the escalating violence to protesters is also shocking.

Photo Credit: The Telegraph
Photo Credit: The Telegraph UK

And that is just in North America!!

Closer to home, the beaches where I live had garbage strewn all over them thanks to shipping containers that fell off a ship and because the company went bankrupt, it had to be cleaned up by volunteers! Definitely not the greatest situation.

With so many sad things happening, it can easy to get down and allow doubt, hate, anger and negativing into our minds. It happened to me just a couple of days ago! 

I was at work and I just had the most overwhelming sense of sadness and insecurity come over me. I felt trapped! I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breath and I just felt so worthless. It was a terrible feeling.

It was also a lesson and I want to share that insight with you today.

Your Health Begins In The Mind!

I am a HUGE believer of self fulfilling prophecies and that if you think something, it will manifest into something that is physically real. You are what you think essentially!

So if I think that I am worthless, I will eventually believe it.

Photo credit: Quotes Gram
Photo credit: Quotes Gram

For a long time, I never thought that I was good enough. There was some imaginary marker that I had put in place to measure my success and no matter how hard I worked towards it, I was never going to reach it because I had made it up and was only pushing it further and further away.

Going back to me being at work and feeling worthless, it had crept up on me and pounced when I least expected it! Except worthlessness didn’t know that I am stronger now. I have really dived into meditation and positive affirmations this year and learnt my worth.

I know that I am more than a body and that I am a kind and caring person. Nothing can take that away from me!

So when worthlessness caught me by surprise, of course I was shocked and sad for a bit but then I sat down and breathed for a little bit. I closed my eyes and breathed in the sorrow and then I breathed it out again and one my next breath, I breathed in love. Love for myself and the strong and confident person that I have become in the past year.

The feelings of sadness and worthlessness left and although I felt a bit bruised for the rest of the day, I constantly checked in with myself to see how I was feeling and reminded myself that I have got this.

I share this story with you because I know that I am not the only one who feels like this.

I have seen my friends over the years struggle with depression and anxiety and I see them act out in unhealthy ways to stop the pain. Drugs, alcohol, unsafe sex, shitty relationships, binge eating, not eating… All destructive behaviours that lessen their worth within themselves.

I want to tell you that you are enough. You are loved and you are more powerful that you could ever imagine. You just need to believe in yourself!

Photo Credit: My Image Quotes
Photo Credit: My Image Quotes

Stop listening to that mean voice that is within you, telling you that you are stupid, fat, unworthy and/or lazy. Tell it to shut up!

So what has this got to do with your health journey and getting fit, losing weight or whatever you want for yourself?

Everything! 

If you think you won’t be happy until you have a six-pack, you will never be happy with how you look because it won’t be enough. If you think that being fat is holding you back, it’s not.

It’s your thoughts that are doing it all for you. 

So I am going to leave this post at this point to allow you to process this information. Have you ever truly thought about your mental health and how it affects you every day? Have you thought that your thoughts control you?

I challenge you to take stock of your thoughts today and over the next week and see how many times you beat yourself up for little things.

Next week, I will talk about how to be nicer to yourself and to turn your thought processes into your most powerful asset!

 

Be Kind, Be Brave and Forever Curious! 

All my love,

Olivia xx

 

 

 

 

 

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The Only Utensils You Need In Your Kitchen

I have been thinking a lot about kitchen utensils lately, mainly because I am about to teach my first basic kitchen skills course on Sunday (so excited!)

I will be going into the staff accommodations of different resorts and talking to the staff about meal planning, balanced meals, budgeting and how to look after themselves during the winter.

The idea came after I was living in staff housing and was watching all the people around me live off noodles and Kraft Dinner. They were getting sick, putting on weight and not feeling that great about themselves so I wanted to give them a little nudge in the right direction.

Writing this course also took me back to when Alex and I were starting out with our own place.

I have lived in staff housing and share houses for most of my life but it wasn’t until I was 26, that I needed to start buying things for my own kitchen. Having come to Canada to travel, I had left all my stuff behind and luckily, hadn’t had to buy anything for the past two years then last May, Alex and I decided to get our own place and between him and I, we literally had a fry pan, wooden spoon, 2 plates and a knife and fork each.

The first week in our new apartment was definitely a testing time as  you cannot flip an egg with a wooden spoon! Although frustrating, it was a good experience as we quickly learnt what we did and didn’t need in our kitchen. So, if you are also starting out or even looking to declutter your kitchen, this is a great place to start:

 

APPLIANCES


Slow Cooker – I LOVE my slow cooker! I have a 2 person one but you can find a cheap one at a thrift store or even buy a cheap new one at Canadian Tire. It doesn’t have to be fancy, sure, a timer sounds nice but it’s not needed.

High Speed Blender – For the longest time, I had a Nutribullet and if I was making a smoothie for one person, it was GREAT! But for anything else, like hummus or bliss balls, it was less than great. (Blend, open lid, mix, close lid, repeat x10).

On a recent trip back to Australia, I brought back my Thermomix which can blend anything in 3 seconds (magic!) but there are plenty of other options as well. I especially like this review from Best Reviews about the top blenders on the market.

Kettle and Toaster – Both essential for lazy Sunday brunch.

 

ELBOW GREASE APPLIANCES


Potato Masher – We used a fork for a long time and it works, but life is a lot easier with one of these.

Egg flip – After trying to flip an egg with a wooden spoon, this is the best!

Measuring Cups and Spoons – I’ve screwed up a lot of recipes because I haven’t measured the ingredients.

2 Good Knives – We have a paring knife and a chef’s knife. That is all we need. No need for buying a fancy knife set, when you will only use 2-3 of the knives. We eventually got a brad knife but we hardly use it.

Spatula – For getting every last bit of a meal onto your plate and reducing your washing up load.

Tongs – Great if you have a BBQ for turning and serving food.

Ladel – You never realise how much you use this until you get one.

Can Opener – Enough said.

Potato Peeler – Also good for making zucchini pasta.

Grater – Because who doesn’t love grated cheese on pasta?

Sieve – For washing salad leaves, draining pasta and everything in between.

Scissors – For opening food packets and cutting up small things, like herbs.

You only need a few utensils! Photo credit: Dunelm
You only need a few utensils! Photo credit: Dunelm

OTHER


Cutlery – There are so many 4 person sets available but try and get one for 6 people or more. It saves you the issue of having enough forks when friends come over for dinner.

A good pot and pan set – We have The Rock set from Heritage. It has honestly been the best thing as everything is non stick and it doesn’t scratch easily. Before we got this, we were using 2nd hand pots from thrift stores and spent more time soaking them then cooking with them. It is a big expense but keep your eye out for sales and you can get a great set at a heavily discounted rate. Also, make sure that the set that you buy has a fry pan included.

2 Chopping Boards – We had one for a long time and recently bought a second one, it has literally.changed.my.life! Not really, but it is pretty handy having two.

Plates and Bowls – Seems obvious but I nearly forgot to add them. I love Correll ones as they don’t chip easily. Especially great if you move a lot.

Baking Tray – For Frozen Pizza, reheating food and hash browns

Casserole Dish – Can double as a slice tin. I also use ours for lasagna all the time.

Coffee Press/Bodum – Great if you want to save money on buying coffee.

Your favourite mug – Normally you don’t need to buy these as your favourite mug was generally from a giveaway or a present from someone. I have 4 mugs in my house (not matching) and I only bought one of them because it is really cool.

Mixing Bowl – For making Eggy Muffins and giant salads.

 

YOU DO BUT YOU DON’T NEED THIS….


For water, we do have glasses as Alex was given some but honestly, we just reuse old jars. These jars also double as food containers and because they are free, you don’t mind giving them away to friend when you are sending food home with them.

 

RECAP


So you are starting out and want to know what basics you need for a functional kitchen? Here is a handy table, outlining the cheap products that you can pick up, to the more expensive, but worth saving up for, appliances.

I also want to add that you shouldn’t always buy the cheapest thing in the store because they are going to break quickly and you will end up buying them again. I have included links of the utensils that I own and would recommend, just so that you have idea of what you should be looking for.

Cheap
Medium
Expensive
$1 - $10$10 - $50>$50
Can Opener
Chopping Boards
Egg Flip
Grater
Ladel
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoons
Mugs
Potato Masher
Potato Peeler
Scissors
Scrubbing Brush
Sieve
Spatula
Tea Towels
Tongs
Bowls
Casserole Dish
Cutlery
Kettle
Knives
Plates
Slow Cooker
Toaster
Fry Pan
High Speed Blender
Pot and Pan Set

 

What do you think? Is there anything that you cannot live without which is isn’t on this list? Let me know below.

Know anyone who is going to be moving out and will need to get set up? Make sure to share this post with them. Just use the share buttons on the side.

 

Have a great week,

Olivia xx

 

 

 

 

 

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Spiced Lentil Stew

The days are growing shorter and shorter each day and I am finding myself naturally craving warm and comforting foods as the air grows crisp and the trees are no longer covered in bright red leaves, but are rather skeletons of their former selves. 

 

 Sometimes I like to add an egg as well for some extra protein.

This spiced lentil stew is made regularly in my kitchen, along with my Black Bean and Quinoa Chilli.

 

It is my version of the Oh She Glow’s Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup. If you have ever checked out the recipes from Angela Liddon, you know that she makes the most amazing meals that are simple and nutritious! My kind of cooking!

 

I have made Angela’s recipe but I really like this recipe as a stew with some extra veggies adding in.

 

The best thing about this recipe is that is it vegan and nut free so it is always a winner at pot lucks. It is also the perfect meal to make when you don’t want to cook and because it makes a large quantity, there is always plenty left over for dinner the next day.

 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! 

Olivia xx

 

 

 

 

Did you like this recipe? Make sure it share it with your friends! 

Or leave a comment below and let me know which veggies you like to add to your stews. 

 


 

How To Brew Kombucha – A Step by Step Guide

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that has become pretty popular in the last couple of years! 

If you have bought it from a store, you know that it has a “cider” flavour with a slight carbonation that tingles on your tongue. Apart from tasting delicious, it also totes a long list of health claims from reducing bloating to healing diabetes.

I love kombucha! I started buying it from the store as a once a week treat because of it’s high cost (usually $6 per bottle) but soon discovered that it is dead easy to make at home. Meaning that I could produce as much as I wanted for a fraction of the cost. Win – Win!

Step 1

The first step of kombucha brewing is to acquire a “SCOBY” or Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. It is a slimy culture of bacteria which thrives in a sweet tea mix to make delicious beverages.

When you first get your SCOBY, you are either going to love it or be completely weirded out by it because they don’t always look the greatest! But stick with it and you will realize that this little culture of bacteria is actually quite badass!

225px-kombucha_mature

Think about it!

It turns strong, sweet tea into an elixir filled with probiotics for gut health, vitamins and enzymes for nourishment and the acidity of the drink aids with digestion. As mentioned before, there are some pretty lucrative health claims out there about kombucha and although I would love it if it did cure diabetes, many scientific studies have found that it isn’t that powerful.

My suggestion, drink it because you like it and want to have a bit of fun making your own prebiotic drink.

 

 

Step 2

Once you have your SCOBY, you can start the brewing process.

It took me a me a bit of trail and error because all the recipes online were for large quantities of kombucha. I just wanted to make enough for myself and maybe some friends.

This is the recipe that I use to make my basic kombucha and it has worked a charm for me every time.

 

BASIC KOMBUCHA RECIPE

Yield: 750mL

Time to do: About 5 minutes, with some cooling time.

Fermenting time: 3-7 days.

Utensils needed:

  • A kettle
  • 1 L Mason Jar
  • 3 cups of boiling water
  • 2 tea bags
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • SCOBY
  • 1/4 cup of kombucha or vinegar
  • A straw

Method: 

  1. In your mason jar, add the teabags and sugar.
  2. Boil the water, and once done, add 3 cups of boiling water into your mason jar.
  3. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until you have a strong tea (with green tea – you can steep for less time)
  4. Remove the teabags and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  5. Once the strong tea mixture is cooled, gentle place your SCOBY into the mason jar (Always have clean hands with handling your SCOBY) along with the 1/4 cup of kombucha or vinegar.
  6.  Cover the jar with paper towel and secure with an elastic band, then let it sit in a warm place, away from direct sunlight.
  7. After three days, check on the kombucha to see if it is ready. Use a plastic or glass straw to taste the mixture.It should taste like a cider when it is ready. If it is really sweet, let it sit for a couple more days.If it tastes like apple cider vinegar, then it has brewed for too long and won’t be that nice to drink. You can actually use this mixture as vinegar though so keep it for future use.
  8. Once your kombucha drink is ready, pour it into a new container and drink straight away or get it ready for a 2nd fermentation.
  9. Start the brewing process again to start a new batch of kombucha.

 

If you want something more visual, here is a quick video that I made on how I brew my kombucha.

 

Step 3

Second fermentation on your kombucha is the fun part where you can start experimenting with flavours and fizziness for the perfect drink.

It only takes an extra 1-3 days and turns your kombucha from something that is good to a drink that is crazy delicious!

I have had some mishaps with this stage, and you will probably too! But it’s all a journey and you will soon learn what flavours and combinations that you like (and don’t like.)

Hopefully, my tips and tricks for 2nd fermentation will make your journey a bit easier.

2ND FERMENTATION

Yield: 750mL – 1.5L

Time to do: About 5 minutes

Fermenting time: 1-3 days.

Utensils needed:

  • Funnel
  • Sieve
  • 2 x 1 L Mason Jar or Bottles with pop top
  • 1 cup of apple juice
  • Flavours of choice (dried fruit, fresh herbs, ginger, turmeric ect.)

Method:

  1. Divide and pour your completed kombucha brew into a 2 mason jars or bottles with pop tops.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup of apple juice in each container.
  3. Optional step: Add a leaf of basil, a teaspoon of turmeric or a small handful of dried fruit to the mixture for an additional flavour. Play with this step, this is the fun bit!
  4. Put a lid on the containers and let them sit for a day or so to continue fermenting. In this step, the gas will build up in the containers and carbonate your beverage.In my own personal experience, I have found that mason jars were not great for getting a good fizz. The pop-top bottles are great! They just require a funnel and I also recommend “burping” them everyday as the pressure builds up very quickly!
  5. Once the fermentation is complete, put the drink in the fridge to stop additional fermentation. When drinking, always be sure to strain the liquid as there can be “invisible” SCOBY’s that have an awful mouth feel!

 

TIPS AND TRICKS

(AKA The Things That I Wish People Had Told Me!)

  • SCOBY’s do not like metal! So make sure to keep them in a glass or ceramic container and if the lid is metal, keep a large distance between it and the SCOBY.
  • Always use sugar in your brewing. Honey, agave or maple syrup will not work.
  • When making your brews, use a whiteboard marker to date your jars. Sometimes life gets in the way and you forget what day you started the process. This is an easy way to remember and gauge how much longer your kombucha needs to sit.
  • During 2nd fermentation, ALWAYS leave enough room in your bottles/jars for gas buildup, or your container will break.
  • You can use other juices for 2nd fermentation, I have tried mango juice and it was amazing! You can also use a flavoured tea with a little bit of sugar in it.
  • Burping your 2nd fermentation also reduces the risk of broken glass.
  • When using turmeric or ginger for your 2nd fermentation, be wary as it causes extra gas.For example, I put turmeric in one of my 2nd ferments and left it for 3 days. By some miracle, the bottle didn’t break BUT when I popped open the lid, my kombucha spurted out like coke and mentos.It went everywhere! And because turmeric stains everything, I now have wonderful yellow marks on my ceiling, fridge and couch!On a side note, turmeric in kombucha is delicious so do try it, just be careful!

via GIPHY

 

So there you have it! How to brew kombucha for a fraction of the cost!

If you like this guide or have any additional questions, make sure to comment below and if you feel it would be helpful to other people, be sure to share it with your friends! Just use the social media icons on the left hand side of the page <<<

 

Have a great week,

Olivia xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

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