A Holmly café

A bubbly welcome and shelves packed full of home cooked goodness. This is what you get when you visit Café Holm on Victoria St in Potts Point.

Recently taken over by Italian  born Elisa, Holm has a sense of family about it. From the warm smiles and thick Italian accents of Elisa and her sidekick Sofia, to the recipes Nonna made and delightful atmosphere, a cosy seating inside or alfresco on the busy footpath.

itlalian girls

And it’s always busy too. I’ve been a regular for the past four months since we moved to the area, and even though there was apprehension when we heard the café was sold, the new owners have been a real treat.

The coffee here is fresh, dark and full bodied and goes down nicely with the many delectable tarts, cakes and slices baked daily. Breakfast and lunch are pretty yummy too and you get the chance to sample some of the girls’ favourite dishes like cannelloni, corn fritters, and Zaatar bread.

ilatialn food

Overall, I’d say not only is Café Holm part of Potts Point, but we, the people who visit there, are also part of Café Holm!

Buon Appetito!

iltalian coffee

An inner peace – Day 5 at Gaia

She awoke before her alarm sounded at 6.45am and prepared for her first yoga session. Obviously her body had gotten the rest it needed and was ready to face an earlier day. And she was so glad it had. Yoga was blissful – breathing, stretching, flowing through the poses for 90 minutes, lengthening her sore muscles, strengthening her limbs, by the end she was awake and buzzing with a happy, healthy glow that she was sure shone from the inside out.

Breakfast that morning was also a new experience, it was the first time she had sat at the communal table. Her and three other ladies enjoyed breakfast over chit chat and friendly conversation.

In fact, her day continued this way with a cooking class taken with new found friends by the head chef. There wasn’t much taste testing, but the learning was fun and everyone had a laugh and took home a little information they didn’t have before.

Before lunch the girl decided to take a walk. She had already ran around the property but this time she wanted to savour it. She wanted to look at the trees, feel the wind and take it all in because after all, this was her last day here.

Soaking in the sunshine and the view

Soaking in the sunshine and the view

The walk turned out to be even better than she had hoped. She wandered through nature, smile on her face and found the labyrinth; a section perched high on the property, in fact, at the highest point in the Ballina Shire. At its center was a Buddha statue. She bowed her head, put her hands to her heart in prayer and took the first step. She knew about the labyrinth, knew it was a section of the property that had a vortex of positive energy around it and she felt it straight away. Inside this labyrinth you are supposed to work out the meaning of your life. Ask and answer questions of yourself and the girl knew exactly what to ask. And, strangely enough, after all she had learned this week, she also now knew the answers. So instead of trying to work her way around the maze she just put one foot in front of another and trusted that she would get to the end. And she did. That’s what she had learned about life. You have to look up, trust in yourself and enjoy the journey.

Let your heart guide you through life

Let your heart guide you through life

She said another prayer and kissed the Buddha’s head before letting the paths lead her back out again, her heart bursting with love. She had opened up that space inside her chest and was able to let life in. Everything around her sang and life seemed to dance in the wind; she was at one with nature, and she loved it.

She touched the trees as she wandered along the rest of the walkway; she smiled, inhaled deeply, listened to the insects, the birds and heard them a little differently. It was as though their song was in time with her own breath. It felt surreal.

That afternoon she made her way back to the spa for a lymphatic drainage massage with Angelique. It was soothing, it was strong, lively and the chimes that centered her at the end left her buzzing. Everything about this day felt heightened and she knew she was ready to go home.

At dinner she sat with her new friends, enjoyed a glass of organic wine, another delicious meal and great company. It was her last night and she enjoyed every moment. Tomorrow she would see her amazing husband. She couldn’t wait to share this experience with him and cuddle up to her pup Sookie. She went to be that night feeling very content.

http://www.gaiaretreat.com.au/gaia-experience

And she glowed from the inside out…

When I started operation nutrition my skin was dull, slightly red and it didn’t look as smooth as I’d probably like it to.

Now, 11 weeks on (almost to the day) my skin has a glow about it. The redness is subsiding and it’s smoothing out. My cheeks don’t look so dull and the softness is returning.

At the start of the journey back in September

At the start of the journey back in September

After the 11 weeks!

After the 11 weeks!

It’s amazing what a difference food can make. Just by putting the right nutrients inside your body you can make a real difference to the outside appearance as well.

For example, if you are stuffing your face with fast food, processed food and bad fats, your skin will start to reflect the amount of grease and saturated fats you’re ingesting.

Similarly, foods that are good foryour body weight seem to be equally as good for your skin. So if you consume a lot of fruits, veg, lean meats, nuts, legumes, etc then your skin will reflect this freshness and radiate health! This is what I’m now starting to see!

And, appearance aside, after 11 weeks I’m really starting to FEEL a difference as well. My energy is up, I’m finding that by eating the right types of food for my body I now have more energy to do longer gym workouts or to push myself more which in turn equals fat loss (bonus!!). I am getting less tired during the day, I feel happier in general and my mood swings are not so frequent. Even my periods are becoming more regular and less painful (which any woman knows is a bloody good thing!).

Bloating was a regular thing at the start of the journey

Bloating was a regular thing at the start of the journey

At the 11 week mark, bloating is gone!

At the 11 week mark, bloating is gone!

When I started on this journey with my wonderful nutritionist Jessica Cox I had an idea of what I wanted to get out of it. I really wanted to learn what foods weren’t right for me and I wanted to learn how to replace those foods with ones that were right for me. I have certainly achieved this! I suppose in the back of my mind I wanted to be eating better so I could lose some weight, which I also achieved! Simply feeling better in general was the main purpose of seeing a nutritionist in the first place. This, I have absolutely achieved. The cramps, nausea, fatigue, headaches and bloating have pretty much stopped completely. Of course I’m still adjusting to this lifestyle so there are occasional slip ups which leave me a little bloated but these are few and far between now.

They say new habits are formed and results start to happen after 12 weeks and I think this is pretty spot on! One important thing I’ve learnt throughout this journey is that you need to be patient and you need to be kind to yourself and your body. Health is a journey and there is no quick fix. Sticking it out is the only way to prosper. And getting support, such as I did with Jess, makes the journey soooooo much smoother and soooooo much easier. I could not have made these changes without her!

So for all of those working on their 2014 resolutions, if getting your health back on track pops up, see a nutritionist. You will not regret the investment. And if you give it a bit of time and stay positive and on track, when you get to the 12 week mark you WILL be able to look back and see some stand out changes to your health, your body and your skin!

Check out www.jessicacox.com.au –make health your priority next year!

PS she has some DELICIOUS recipes on the site as well!

Hold the gluten

I was feeling a little peckish this afternoon for a sweet treat. So I wandered up to a local café and asked about their gluten/wheat free cakes.

A gentlemen pointed me in the direction of a caramel slice assuring me it was free of my foe – wheat.

Fast forward an hour and my stomach feels like it’s being ripped apart by knives gashing at my insides. I am bloated, nauseous and I feel like I’m want to go back to said café and throw up over said gentlemen’s shoes.

I have been eating pretty darn perfectly since my last appointment about 3 weeks ago with my nutritionist Jess Cox (ps check out her website here www.jessicacox.net) and I have an appointment booked with her for tomorrow arvo as well. This is why I can feel the difference. This is how I know this little caramel culprit is the one to blame for my internal suffering. Because when you eat foods that make you feel good, you can really feel when something goes into your body that is not so good for you. And what’s worse, my little treat for the week was spoiled because the gentleman at the café couldn’t be bothered finding out what in the shop was actually gluten/wheat free. And I paid the price for that.

Now there is another problem here. I’m lucky, because although I feel ill, that’s the worst of it. Some people are deathly allergic to things like gluten. A friend of a friend is one such person. If she, or any other person with a serious allergy, had eaten this, they would likely be in the hospital right now.

So, the lesson to be learned here is to always check, and double check, that what you are eating is what it is supposed to be. Don’t just take someone’s word for it or you may end up with a yukky tummy or worse.

 hold-the-gluten

My inner voice has spoken up!

I recently cut red meat from my diet (something I need to discuss with my nutritionist Jess at our appointment next week!). This isn’t the first time I’ve done this; it’s actually something I do quite frequently. I go Vego for a few months and then add meat back in for a while. The reasoning behind it is simple really; it’s a moral decision. I’m a big believer in and supporter of animal rights so I feel like a bit of a hypocrite scoffing down a juicy steak.

embarrassed look

Going off meat temporarily isn’t too tough for me, but after a while it always seems to get harder. Why? A: like the taste (I know, I know… don’t judge) B: My iron levels are low and sometimes my body needs the extra fuel. However, now that Jess is on the case regarding my iron and my levels are rising I feel that problem may be combatted for good, so that excuse is no longer relevant.

And today, just when reason B was about to wreck everything, my little inner voice who until now only pipes up when I don’t want it to, actually came to my rescue. Here’s the story…

I’m in my lunch break, driving to get some sushi and one of my fav pieces is the Aburi Ngiri (rice with seared wagyu beef). When I realised I wasn’t going to be able to have that now I’ve gone back to not eating red meats, I thought, oh well I suppose it doesn’t matter, one sushi won’t kill me. Then, enter stage left my inner voice who said very calmly… ‘Lahnee, you can eat the sushi if you want, but remember that you made the conscious choice not to eat red meat because it goes against your morals. It’s a choice you made, and it’s a choice you can keep.’

Hmmm, wise words little voice.

So I suppose the moral (pun intended) of this story is that some foods you may want to eat but you can’t because you are allergic or intolerant. Such is the case with me and my old pal wheat. Other foods you are actively choosing not to eat for one reason or other. And you are in total control of your actions. You are the only person who can be blamed if you break your own rules. This goes for weight loss too. No one forces you to eat a piece of cake. You pick that sucker up and put it in your own mouth.

Relationship-with-food

Our relationship with food really shouldn’t be as complicated as it is sometimes. Basically, if your body can’t handle something, don’t eat it. If you know something is bad for you, don’t eat it. If you’ve made a moral decision not to eat something, don’t eat it.

There… super simple really!

Body 1, Lahnee 0

So it seems as though my willpower is not as brilliant as I thought it was. Not that I ever really thought it was that good, but I’m learning now more than ever that our bodies are sneaky little buggers. They are tricksters!

When your body gets addicted to something, like sugar, or carbs or whatever it might be, you start to crave it. So the more you have eaten of it over your lifetime, the more your body starts to expect it. When you simply take this particular thing away, your body has withdrawals, your brain has withdrawals, and you start to crave it. Now here is where the willpower and discipline is supposed to kick in and say “NO Lahnee, you don’t NEED that piece of chocolate, you just THINK you do!” I’ve come to the conclusion that my willpower is broken; because that didn’t happen. Now I’m all ‘oh no, I’ve wrecked my nutrition plan, Jess is going to kill me,  how am I going to fix my body and make it healthy if I can’t say no to a bloody piece of white chocolate!’

Vicious cycle.

white_chocolate_16x9

After the craziness of feeling naughty, like I’ve cheated, or like I’ve done something really wrong calmed down, I realised that all I did was be human. If I have spent 26 years eating chocolate, of course my body doesn’t understand why I’ve suddenly stopped eating it. It takes time, and there’s no point in beating myself up about it. Jess is not really going to kill me (I hope!) and all I need to do is get back on track and keep on pushing forward. This is a journey after all and its one I will be on for a long time. So stuff ups are going to happen.

On a good note, I’m learning what my body craves when, like savoury stuff in the am and sweets in the afternoon. I’m also learning what foods make me feel good and satisfied, and which ones leave me groggy and bloated. I’m learning to look more closely at labels and to be aware of what I put in my mouth. Despite a few setbacks, I am learning, and this is the important thing.

So, til next time – eat well!

Update time

Firstly apologies for the lack of updates on the blog this week! Life, as it sometimes does, got in the way.

But, to make up for it, a vlog will be posted tomorrow arvo… cue applause!!

Well today officially marks the end of week one of Operation Nutrition. And if Im going to be honest, it was only half successful. But, the upside, I’ve learnt a lot.

Lesson 1: Be Prepared. If you are not, then you are destined to fail. I should have spent a few hours cooking and prepping last weekend so I was never caught off guard. But, I didn”t do that and often found myself without the right types of food nearby. I still managed to find a wheat free, dairy free option, but not the right option and not what Jess had put on my meal plan.

Lesson 2: Cold turkey sucks. Some of my fav foods are bread, churros and chocolate milkshakes. Yeah 3 really healthy choices huh! And while I did not have these things this week, I did find it tough to kick my 4th fav…. coffee!!! I think its probably more out of habit that I drink it, but it was a habit I just couldn”t kick this week. Mind you the 8 large cow milk caps were replaced with 4 small soy lattes so thats a start right?

Lesson 3: This is for my own good. This isn’t a new diet fad I’m trying. I’m not doing this to drop the kilos quick. I’m doing this to feel better. I’m doing this to be healthier and well on the insides. So, I probably shouldn’t get frustrated because I cant eat something when everyone else can.

Lesson 4: Keep a diary. From tomorrow on I’m writing down every thing that goes into my mouth because it makes me accountable and makes me mindful of what I eat.

Lesson 5: Not all supermarkets are created equal, nor are all wheat free foods. I looked in 3 different shops for the brands Jessica suggested for breads without wheat. Could not find it for the life of me! So, next meeting with Jessica Im finding out where she shops.

Lesson 6: You don’t have to eat something just because you can. The example here is tofu. I don’t need to say more.

Lesson 7: Tomorrow is a new day. And in this case, tomorrow is a new week and a chance to keep powering on stronger than ever!

So until tomorrow….

lahneeland groceries

 

 

Operation Nutrition – the meet!

It was 4.30pm on a Thursday and I found myself wandering up the steps to Jessica’s office space in Brisbane CBD. With a big smile and hello I was in the room and sitting at the desk, anxious to get started. It was D-Day… the initial consultation was here!

So as you all now know I’m embarking on Operation Nutrition to get my health back in order. I shared a bit about my past in the last post and over the course of the next few months I’ll be sharing the journey.

Here is the starting point. In order to give you a real idea about what goes on I am going to be honest and share with you everything… the highs, the lows, the good and the bad. Starting with the pre Operation Nutrition pics…

These pics are post wheat based snack. As you can see there is some serious bloating going on. This is pretty much what I deal with daily. I’m not sure at this stage what exactly causes it, but with Jessica’s help we are going to find out and eliminate that sucker!

IMG_3701 IMG_3700

Here is a pic of my bare naked… face! Straight out the shower sans everything (including moisturiser) this is all me.

IMG_3707

Now here are the stats:

Weight – 65kg, Height 161cm (yes I’m short!), body fat 22%.

Just to clarify, I’m not doing this to lose weight; I’m doing it to feel better and to learn how to use food to benefit my body. But in doing this, I’m pretty sure the weight loss and fat loss is going to come as an added perk! So I will keep track of this too!

frontback

Now on to the initial consultation itself!

First let me just say, it was super easy and I felt really comfortable, even when talking about things like bowel movements and flatulence…Jessica covered all the nitty gritty bits and asked plenty of questions, most, I surprisingly couldn’t answer! It’s quite amazing how little notice you take of things like how often you go to the toilet, what foods/meals cause the bloating, whether the symptoms all came at once or over time. It comes back to being mindful and aware and in this day and age, we just aren’t aware of what’s going on in our bodies, or what we are putting in them!

I actually felt a little embarrassed if at any time when we were openly discussing my current diet. Which I thought was reasonably healthy, until I said what I ate out loud. It’s funny, I go about life thinking I’m pretty healthy, I don’t eat white anything, I exercise, I don’t smoke, don’t drink much, don’t take drugs; yet I get sick all the time and I’m constantly tired. You would think alarm bells would have gone off sooner than now! And to think it is all to do with the foods I’m eating.

Even something as simple as weetbix for breakfast could be upsetting the balance, or too much sushi, or those morning cappuccinos! I use skim milk, that’s healthy right? Not when your body hates dairy!

So in short, the initial consultation was exactly that; a starting point for us both to discover what’s been happening and to start talking about what is going to happen. One thing I was really thrilled about was that I got to take something home with me right then and there! Jessica created me a brand new food plan designed around what types of food I like and not too different from what I already ate. For example, weetbix and fruit with cow’s milk has been substituted for low sugar muesli, berries and almond milk. The coffees exchanged for herbal tea. All totally doable and delicious swaps; there is nothing on my new menu I don’t like. I also got some great new recipes for home-made dips, salad variations and pre workout muffins! I left with my next appointment booked for 2 weeks’ time, a pee cup for one test, a referral for another blood test with my local GP and I was feeling positive about the whole thing.

So what now you ask? Now I have a food plan with no wheat and no dairy so we can determine if it is one or both of these foods that my body doesn’t like. We will trial this until the next appointment, in the meantime I have the two tests done and then we bring it all together at our next session! The beauty is, Jessica is available any time I need help or advice and that makes me feel super excited and motivated to see this through!

Stay tuned for daily updates and the big shop!

Peace

Nutrition for dummies

The saying goes, you are what you eat.

And it appears to be rather correct.

You see, I’m starting to realise that if you stuff your face full of fattening foods, guess what, you get fat. If you eat lean foods, shock horror, you get leaner!

This is pretty generalised but you get the drift.

In my search for information about ‘being what you eat’ I came across this gem of a list…

It’s called Nutrition for Dummies… I now have it posted on my wall at work…I’m particularly fond of rule number 15, and remember, nobody accidentally eats cake 😉

1. Don’t eat anything bigger than your head. Unless it’s a watermelon. Or you have a tiny head.
2. If your meal arrives through a car window via a teenager wearing a headset, don’t eat it.
3. If it comes in an exciting range of fluorescent colours, don’t eat it.
4. Don’t confuse the marketing on the front (of the pack) with the nutritional information in the teeny-tiny box on the back.
5. Nobody accidentally eats cake. Own your choices and your behaviours.
6. Calories consumed in secret count. Your friends might not know but your arse will.
7. If dieting was an effective way to lose weight permanently, nobody would ever diet twice.
8. Don’t confuse ‘what your head wants’ with what your body needs. Your mind is a lying bitch.
9. If the ingredient list is full of weird-sounding numbers and words ending in ‘ose’, throw it away.
10. If you haven’t had a poo since June, maybe cut back on the processed food. And try a little fibre. Just saying.
11. If it comes with orange-coloured cheese, throw it away.
12. Most cereals are shit. Avoid them. Unless you want diabetes by Friday.
13. Amazingly, following a generic eating plan from a magazine is not your best bet.
14. If food is your lover, you need to get out more.
15. If you’re considering taking your kids to McDonalds for a treat, punch yourself in the face.

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(work wall inspiration!!!)

You aid what you eat!

carrotA sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye… And YES, science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

tomatoA Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All of the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and are indeed pure heart and blood food.

grapesGrapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.

nutA Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three (3) dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.

beanKidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.

celeryCelery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and many more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don’t have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

avoAvocadoes, Eggplant and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female – they look just like these organs. Today’s research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? It takes exactly nine (9) months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).

figFigs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the numbers of Sperm as well to overcome male sterility.

potatoSweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

oliveOlives assist the health and function of the ovaries

orangeOranges , Grapefruits, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

onionOnions look like the body’s cells. Today’s research shows onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. A working companion, Garlic, also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from the body