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Meet the Flipp Family

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New Zealand has some of the most perfect conditions in the world for dairy farming.  Plenty of wide open spaces, lush green grass and moderate temperatures.  We are a nation of milk drinkers and in the year ending June 2014 New Zealand dairy companies processed 20.7 billion litres of milk.

Recently we wrote a blog post on what organic truly means.  It means that what you are eating is in its purest form, no synthetic pesticides have been used, no antibiotics, no genetic modification.  It also means organic farmers have to work harder to sustain the health of soils, ecosystems and stock.

Julia and I are huge advocates for organic products so were happy when Anchor introduced an organic milk to the market, which is available throughout New Zealand.  The Anchor Organic milk is sourced from Manawatu farms, including the Flipp family farm in Te Oroua Downs.  For the Flipp’s, dairy farming is in the family.  Mark Flipp’s Dad started as a share milker before buying their Manawatu farm in 1980.  The farm has expanded, from 109 ha in size and milking 180 Friesians in 1980, to 508 ha and 600 cows in 2015. Wow!  Mark Flipp made the decision to turn his farm organic in the mid-2000s and became officially certified in 2010, at the same time as joining the Fonterra programme.

We were lucky enough to interview the Flipp family who answered all our questions on organic farming.

INTERVIEW –  
J&L: Why have you chosen to farm organically as opposed to conforming to general intensive methods?

Flipp’s: We have chosen to farm organically to be self-sufficient and not rely on outside resources because we prefer to work with the ebbs and flows of the land and seasons to get the best results it can provide. I also like that organic farming feels closer to how NZers used to farm, say, 50 years ago – I like that traditional practice.

Can you tell us differences between the two from a general farming perspective? Through the organic process, what benefits from grass to glass are delivered to the consumer?

While I couldn’t tell you the differences first-hand between organic and intensive farming (because we have always farmed in a similar way using lower inputs before we became officially organic), organic means farming the property to what is it naturally capable of.

Day-to-day differences include things like weeding manually or using a machine to pluck them out from the paddocks, rather than using any sprays. When we say organic farming uses lower inputs, we mainly mean we have relatively lower livestock numbers compared to intensive farming. This is because organic farming means we’re more exposed to the elements and fluctuating seasons so need to lower risks by having smaller herd numbers.

Benefits to the consumer with organic products mainly comes from peace of mind to know that what you are consuming has been organically grown and produced.

How long does it take to become an organic certified farmer in New Zealand? Are the regulations and standards quite rigorous?

It takes three years to become organically certified with the government-owned regulation body AsureQuality. The regulations and standards are very rigorous, but nothing good comes from anything easy.

What would be your advice to a farmer considering switching to organic farming?

Anyone thinking of switching to organic farming requires a passion, a belief and patience. But we think it’s worth the hard work because of the feel-good factor, slightly higher financial benefits (although an intensive farmer might disagree).

Dairy farming has been in your family for years, what do you enjoy most about it?

I enjoy farming with nature, not trying to change her e.g. Harvesting surplus pasture in the spring to feed to the animals in winter and summer months, rather than using outside inputs to supplement those months or using irrigation.

What is something a lot of people don’t know about organic farming but should/would be interested to know?

A lot of people probably don’t know the big paper trail required with organic farming for auditing purposes. But it’s important it’s a rigorous process to become certified organic, as a key part of of Anchor Organic milk is that it’s verified and traceable and it’s good for consumers to know where their produce is coming from.

Thank you Flipp family!

Lx

HAIR // Julia’s Beauty Essentials

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Welcome to part 2 of my beauty blog post series –  this post will cover the products I use on my hair.  If you missed the first post I wrote last week about face skin care you can read it here.

My absolute favourite indulgence is going and getting a blow wave, it’s all part of my scheduled “me time”… that helps me justify the cost! A fresh blow wave makes me feel like a million dollars, I would choose one over a pair of new shoes any day!

I have been dying my hair for years and years and have been every shade possible.  Black, brown, orange, red, white, yellow (oops) and blonde.  If you regularly dye your hair you will know that trims and treatments help keep the health of your hair in good shape.  Diet also plays a big part as ultimately what you eat becomes part of you.  If you would like to learn more about the connection of diet and hair I would recommend the purchase of Dr Libby’s book “Beauty From The Inside Out“.

Just like face skin care I am moving towards using natural based hair care and have found there to be a lot of brands available at reasonable prices.  My absolute favourite hair care brand is Original & Mineral.  I have blogged about their blonde shampoo and conditioner here and when in Auckland get my hair dyed with their products at Stephen Marr.  (If you are in Auckland book in with Donielle at the Takapuna salon, she is incredible!).  Their products contain over 90% natural ingredients and they have taken out most of the nasty chemicals that we should not be using on our skin – Parabens, Triclosan, Sodium Chloride and Propylene, just to name a few.  Their products are not tested on animals and are Made In Australia.  At the supermarket more natural based brands are popping up, Eco Store is one of them and at $10.95 a bottle of shampoo only a few dollars more than chemical based brands such as Herbal Essences.

* These blog posts are not sponsored.  All of the products featured are because I use and love them, so my comments are completely genuine and come from the heart.  

HAIR

J&LHAIR

Top left clockwise: Original & Mineral “Know Knott”  conditioning detangler Coconut Oil Shop “Ancient Wisdom” Coconut Oil | Original & Mineral “Detox Deep Cleansing Shampoo” | Sans Ceuticals “Activator 7” Hair, Face & Body Oil | Herbology “Organic Hair NourishertreatmentOriginal & Mineral “Hydrate & Conquer” Conditioner  |

SHAMPOO:

Original & Mineral  “Detox Deep Cleansing Shampoo” // 350 ml / $39.00 NZD
– If you love giving your scalp and hair a deep clean, have it free of any dirt and build up oil then this shampoo is just what you need.  I love the smell of peppermint oil and cucumber, and the ingredients also include grapefruit extract.  I would recommend using this product every time you wash, however if you are on a budget then alternate every second wash.  Made in Australia and not tested on animals.  You can buy here if you are in New Zealand and here if you are in Australia.

CONDITIONER: 

Original & Mineral ” Hydrate & Conquer” // 350 ml / $39.00 NZD
– This is my favourite conditioner and it won me over purely based on the smell.  I have been using this conditioner for 18 months now and nothing else comes close to being as perfect.  I used to not be overly fussed with salon hair products and thought that supermarket brands did just as good a job – nope, I was wrong.  Hydrate & Conquer is King! As the formula is so rich and nourishing you only need a tiny bit, apply to your ends, leave on for a few minutes and you will smell divine.  A 350 ml bottle lasts me a few months (I have long hair) so it is well worth the price.  Again, Made in Australia and not tested on animals.  You can buy here if you are in New Zealand and here if you are in Australia.

SCALP TREATMENT:

Herbology ” Organic Hair Nourisher” // 50 ml / $35.00 NZD (approx)
– Herbology is a small, carefully selected range of products made from high quality organic oils and blends that help you care for your body, from head to toe.  The founder of the brand is an Aromatherapist who lives in New Zealand where the products are made.  Considering the products are all organic and NZ made I find the pricing to be very reasonable.   The Organic Hair Nourisher is a beautiful hair and scalp treatment made with Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Avocado oil with Rosemary and Lavender essential oils.  The best way to use this product is to massage into your scalp and roots of the hair, comb through and leave in for an hour or so before you wash it or over night and wash out in the morning.  Best done weekly/fortnightly or if you have very dry hair, an itchy scalp or dandruff I would suggest applying twice weekly.  You can buy here.

HAIR MASQUE:

Coconut Oil Shop “Ancient Wisdom” Coconut Oil // 160 ml / $14.70 NZD
 You can eat coconut oil and it also doubles as a beauty product which is great as you can purchase coconut oil at an affordable price.  For years I have used coconut oil as a hair masque and find it to be very effective in keeping my hair nourished and soft.  Before you go to bed apply coconut oil to the ends of your hair, tie your hair up in a top knot or plait, place a towel on your pillow and sleep with the oil in your hair.  The next morning wash it out and as it is an oil I find it best to double shampoo your hair to ensure the oil is all washed away or when your hair dries it will look greasy.  I like to do this masque every few weeks and in Summer once a week.  You can purchase coconut oil here.

SERUM:

Sans Ceuticals “Activator 7” // 250 ml
– Sans Ceuticals products are Made In New Zealand, most of the products are vegan friendly, all products are made entirely of natural ingredients, with the exception of retinal palmitate.  The Activator 7 Oil can be used on your face too however I just use it in my hair as a serum.  The product is highly concentrated so only a very small amount needs to be used.  Pre & after blow drying or after using a straightener or curling tongs run the oil through your hair ends.  It leaves your silky smooth and shiny! Some of the ingredients include Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Baobab  Oil (high in Omega 3,6 & 9).  In you are in NZ you can buy here and for international stockists click here.  

CONDITIONING DETANGLER: 

Original & Mineral “Know Knott” Conditioning Detangler // 250 ml / $39.00 NZD
– If you have thick or long hair you will understand why a detangler can be your best friend.  Know Knott saves me from ripping my hair out when I am combing it, which in turn helps reduce split ends.  Cold-pressed organic Argan and Macadamia oils will leave your hair conditioned and make it easier to get any knots out.  Spray though wet hair from roots to ends and your comb will glide through with ease.  Free of any harsh chemicals, not tested on animals and Made In Australia.  If you are in NZ you can buy here and in Australian you can buy here.

 

I am still on the search for a natural based dry shampoo and curling products.  What are some of your favourite hair care brands? Share below!

Julia x

FACE // Julia’s Beauty Essentials

Libby and I get asked weekly from readers what our beauty regime is, our favourite products or for recommendations of natural or organic cosmetic products.  Those questions inspired me to put together a 4 part series of blog post showing you what cosmetics I use on a daily/weekly basis.

My budget is not always kind on me (I know there will be many of you nodding your head at this comment), being a Uni student there will be months when I have extra money and can splurge on a luxurious beauty product, and then there are those months when a text book purchase comes before something expensive that needs replacing.  Due to this I can use two different brands of the same type of product – one with a cheaper price point and not necessarily 100% natural and then a more expensive product.  In a perfect world I would only use natural products, however if this was the case I would be broke, and know that this would be the case  for many others.  I do what I can when I can.

If you are looking to update your beauty products to natural based alternatives start with the basics, there are SO many products available and you are always going to find something that suits your skin type and budget.  It is nice to see companies working towards re formulating their product ranges to move away from synthetic ingredients and replacing with natural plant based ingredients.

In this blog series I will cover the products used on my face, the following week hair, then body and then make up.
* These blog posts are not sponsored.  All of the products featured are because I use and love them, so my comments are completely genuine and come from the heart.  

FACE

Face1:  SkinFood “Cleans All” Cleanser.  2: Manuka Doctor “Foming Cleanser”.  3: Martina Organics Toner.  4: Model Co “BB Plus Cream”.  5: Trilogy “Rosehip Oil”.  6: Martina Organics Moisturiser.  7: Tailor Masque.  8: Suvana Organics “Paw Paw and Honey Balm”.  9: Manuka Doctor “Age Defying Eye Cream”.  


CLEANSER:

1. SkinFood “Cleans All” Cleanser // 100ml / $13.99 NZD
– This is my go to cleanser that I have been using since my early 20’s.  It is super creamy and light.  Ingredients include Aloe Vera, Sunflower Seed Oil, Kiwifruit Seed Oil, Avocado Oil, Linden Flower Extract, Manuka Honey, Lavender Oil, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Sweet Orange Oil.  With a price tag of $13.99 it won’t break the bank.  SkinFood is a trusted brand, they have re formulated their products to include more natural ingredients and I applaud them for this.  Made in New Zealand and available in most supermarkets.  You can purchase here.

2. Manuka Doctor “Foaming Cleanser // 150ml / $37.75 NZD
– If I have worn make up and need a deeper cleanse I love Manuka Doctor Foaming Cleanser.  Foaming Cleansers have always been a favourite of mine as you can lather and see the dirt come off your face.  This cleanser is part of the APIclear range from Manuka Doctor for more troubled blemished skin.  You can purchase here.

TONER: 

3. Martina Organics // 180ml / $72.00 NZD
– Martina Organics are the new kid on the block, a New Zealand brand I have just started using and and have fallen in love with.  With 3 products on offer the range is going to grow and I can see big things happening for this brand.  This toner is so luxurious and smells divine.  The ingredients include Organic Rose Water, Organic Witch Hazel, Organic Jasmine Essential Oil, Organic Manuka Essential Oil.  What makes this brand so special is that all of the ingredients are organic, the product is hand blended in small batches, completely pure and the products are Unisex.  I spray this toner on in the morning as soon as I wake up and at night before applying moisturiser.  My favourite beauty brand of the moment.  You can buy here.

DAY MOISTURISER: 

 Manuka Doctor “CC Cream with SPF 20” (not pictured) // 30 ml / $39.95 NZD
– ApiRefine CC Cream SPF20 is a colour correcting formula that works to brighten and smooth skin’s appearance.  The colour of this CC cream is very light so I use this as my go to day moisturiser in Winter, when my tan has faded.  It has a colour correcting formula that works to even out skin tone and hides any redness – just what a good CC cream should be doing for you.  This cream also contains Organic Cactus Extract, an ultra-refined elixir which is clinically proven to firm & hydrate skin.  You can buy here.

4. Model Co “BB Plus Cream” // 35 ml / $19.95 AUD
– I have tried a lot of BB (beauty balm) and CC (colour correcting) Creams and find Model Co’s to be the best for coverage, price point and for giving skin a glow without looking oily.  As I do not like to wear foundation in the day time Model Co BB cream is my Summer/Spring day moisturiser, it lasts all day and has a dry finish so is perfect for hotter temps.  It contains serum, moisturiser, primer, foundation and SPF 30+ UVA and UVB Broad-Spectrum Protection sunscreen so has all bases covered.  Very important to choose day moisturisers that contain sunscreen.  You can buy here.

NIGHT MOISTURISER:

5.  Trilogy “Certified Organic Rosehip Oil” // 45 ml /$39.90 NZD
– Trilogy was founded by two Kiwi sisters in 2002 and their Rosehip Oil has become one of the most awarded beauty oils in the world.  I have used their Rosehip oil for many years now (have blogged out it here) and absolutely love it.  It is super hydrating and completely natural.  Rosehip Oil is best known to help reduce scars and stretch marks so can be used on the whole body, not just the face.  The oil is extracted from the seeds of organically grown rose hips, it is a super food for the skin.  As you only need a few drops a 45ml bottle will last many months so in terms of price this product is affordable and available almost everywhere.  You can buy here.

6.  Martina Organics // 100 ml / $99.00 NZD
– One of the most luxurious moisturisers I have ever come across.  A blend of Organic Argan Oil, Organic Baobab Oil, Organic Camellia Oil, Organic Evening Primrose Oil, Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Organic Macadamia Oil, Organic Marula Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Avocado Oil, Organic Jasmine Essential Oil, Organic Manuka Essential Oil, this product is going to nourish skin inside and out.  Hand made in New Zealand, unisex and suitable for all skin types.  As my skin tends to be more on the dry side it laps these ingredients up and I wake up with super soft skin.  You can buy here.

 FACE MASQUE:

7.  Tailor Masque // 50 ml / $31.00 NZD
– About a year ago I tried Tailor Masque and was instantly hooked.   It left my skin feeling so silky, tight and a was great way to get rid of any breakouts.  All Tailor Skin Care products are made from natural and organic ingredients, with no harsh chemicals, fillers or parabens and are tested on humans not animals.   One of the ingredients in the masque is Bentonite clay.  Bentonite expands when wet. When it dries it contracts, tightening the skin.  Bentonite also has an electrical charge which helps to draw toxins from the skin leaving skin feeling smooth and soft.  Hand made in New Zealand, Tailor is a brand that is affordable and works.  The range is expanding to include more products, a brand worth checking out.  You can buy here.

LIPS:

8. Suvana “Organic Paw Paw & Honey Balm” // 25 gm / $11.95 NZD
– For years I used Lucas Paw Paw Ointment, but recently found out that it contains pharmaceutical grade petroleum jelly and wax.  Although the brand claim it safe, if there is a natural alternative that is priced the same, of course it is best to switch brands.  Suvana is certified organic and contains paw paw, honey, coconut oil, cacao butter… you will literally lick this off your lips.  There is always a tube of this balm in my handbag, car and on my bedside table.  Not just for your lips this balm can be used on any part of your body and is gentle enough to use on babies too.  Say bye bye to Vaseline.  You can buy here.

EYES:

9.  Manuka Doctor  “Age-Defying Eye Cream” // 15 ml / $34.95 NZD
– Anti ageing skin care doesn’t feature all to much in my bathroom cupboard, but as I head towards my 30’s I thought it was about time to introduce a product. Starting small with eye cream as this can be an area to show the first signs of ageing.  Manuka Doctor products contain purified bee venom which is proven to boost collagen.  Other ingredients in this product are Avocado Oil, Olive Oil, Shea Butter, Coconut and Vitamin E… all known to be nourishing and will help keep my peepers smooth and hydrated.  I use this product in the morning before applying moisturiser and at night before going to bed.  You can buy here.

I hope you enjoyed this first blog post.  I welcome feedback, questions and product suggestions with open arms.

Jx

Peanut Butter and Cacao Brownie

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Chocolate and peanut butter are two foods that taste incredible when combined.  These decadent, chewy peanut butter and cacao brownies are the perfect guilt free comfort food. The peanut butter makes the brownie creamy and rich and the cacao nibs gives it a crunchy texture. This is such a simple recipe to follow and can be easily adapted by adding nuts, shredded coconut, dried fruit and white chocolate bits.
I served my brownies with plain yogurt and they also taste great eaten on their own, they are moist so do not worry if you do not have yoghurt.

*Gluten Free

Ingredients

2 eggs
3/4 cup of peanut butter. I used 100% NUTZ Crunchy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup of coconut sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup of cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup of raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla essence

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 9 by 9 inch pan with baking paper and grease with coconut oil or butter.
2. Combine the eggs, yogurt, coconut sugar, oats, almond milk, cacao nibs, cacao powder, vanilla essence and mix well.
3. Pour the mixture into the pan and spread evenly.
4. Heat the peanut butter in the microwave for 1 minute, until it is slightly melted. Pour the melted peanut butter over the mixture. Using a fork mix the peanut butter through the mixture creating a marbled effect.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  I melted some dark chocolate chips and swirled them over the brownie before placing in the fridge.
6. Place the brownie in the fridge for 1 hour before serving, although it does taste amazing fresh out of the oven.

L x Enjoy

 

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Colourful Capsicum Cups

Loaded with vegetables, chickpeas, quinoa and herbs these capsicum cups provide nutrition needed for a wholesome and balanced meal. These are incredibly filling and the quinoa and chickpeas provide a high vegetarian source of protein.

These are great to make for lunch, dinner and snacks. Try to choose a variety of coloured capsicums to make the meal bright and colourful.

* Vegetarian
* Vegan
* Gluten Free
* Dairy Free

Ingredients:

3 capsicums
3/4 cup of quinoa
1 400g can of chickpeas.  I used half a can.
1/4 pumpkin
1 avocado
1 fresh chill pepper- diced
2-3 cloves of garlic- diced
1 small bunch of chives
1 bunch of parsley
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Note: For a non vegan meal, feta cheese can be sprinkled over the capsicums after the capsicums are roasted in the oven.

Method:

1. Cut up the pumpkin into small cubes, drizzle with olive oil and place in a baking tray.  Roast the pumpkin in the oven on 180C for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden.
2. Place the quinoa in a pot with 1 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt.  Cook for around 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy.
2. Cut out the stems of the capsicums and remove the seeds then cut the capsicums in half, lengthwise.
3. In a bowl add the quinoa, pumpkin, diced garlic, chili,  half of the parsley and chives and salt and pepper. Mix well.
4. Stuff the capsicums with the mixture, then place them in the oven for 10-15 minutes on bake.
5. Sprinkle the remainder of the parsley and chives onto the capsicum, along with the sliced avocado. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Julia & Libby xx

 

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Bestow Beauty

Julia and I are often asked what skin care and supplements we use, I often find it hard to find products that contain no nasty chemicals or synthetic ingredients which can do more harm to our bodies. A friend of mine recommended I try Bestow Beauty products, they are like edible cosmetics that are full of superfood goodness to help nourish our body.

Bestow Beauty have created three products, the Bestow Beauty Oil, Bestow Beauty Powder and Bestow Detox Powder, these products that can be added to smoothies, salads, desserts and juices.
My two favorite products are the Beauty Oil and the Beauty Powder, both of which I use everyday. I find they make such a difference to my skin especially when I am really stressed out during exam time, I will increase the dosage to ensure I am getting enough nutrients.

My favorite way to have these products is adding them to my daily smoothie. I have attached the recipe for you to try!

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Bestow Beauty Oil

Bestow Beauty Oil is an edible product that is high in Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) that are vital for our health. Essential fatty acids are specific fats that are critical to the proper function of our body. Our body is not able to produce these fatty acids on its own, so it is necessary that we eat a diet rich in these crucial building blocks to maintain a healthy body.  We need EFA’s to help maintain healthy skin, hair, nails, brain function and regulate hormones, adrenal function and thyroid function.
Bestow Beauty Oil is a blend of organic, unrefined, extra virgin seed oils cold-pressed from flax and golden flax to provide you with a plentiful source of Essential Fatty Acids.

Every morning I add some Bestow Beauty Oil to my smoothie to ensure I am getting enough EFA’s through my diet.

Bestow Beauty Powder

Bestow Beauty Powder contains some incredible super foods including kelp, wheatgrass, blackcurrant extract, flaxseed, pumpkin flour and alfalfa. All of these ingredients are packed full of minerals, vitamins and amino acids, all of which are beneficial for skin, body, hair and nails.
The super foods in this product provide a source of all of the nutritional building blocks your body needs to produce good quality collagen and elastin, your skin’s natural, anti-ageing fibres.

My theory to having healthy skin is to feed the body with nourishing ingredients that are going to support the proper functioning of the skin, which will decrease blemishes and give skin a healthy glow.

Bestow Beauty Superfood Smoothie

Ingredients

1 banana
1 cup of berries
1 cup of spinach
1 1/2 cups of purified water
1 Tablespoon of Bestow Beauty Powder
1 Tablespoon of Bestow Beauty Oil

Blend for 3 minutes and serve!

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Check out the Bestow Beauty website for some more delicious recipes.
L xx

The importance of Whole foods.

As people’s waistlines increase, and the rate of type two diabetes and obesity soars in New Zealand, it is time we as a nation start looking at what we are eating.   There are around 200,000 New Zealanders that have type two diabetes and 18.6% of us have pre-diabetes which in many cases leads to type 2 diabetes.  There are also a number of other diet related illnesses that are in the incline and that comes as no surprise when the number of pre packaged and processed foods on our supermarket shelves are increasing.

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‘Processed’ is becoming one of the frowned upon words when it comes to diet.  The rise of consumers who want to eat locally grown, organic, real food is beginning to thrive.  Eating a clean diet full of whole foods has become a mantra for many of us.  There has been a spike in the amount of people adapting to the Paleolithic diet, which is based around eating whole foods. Have you been on Instagram lately? My news feed is a wash with photos of peoples food adorned with “clean eating” hash tags. It is now trendy to “eat clean” and lets hope this current trend does not go away any time soon as it is a fantastic way to eat and one of the ways that we can combat diet related illnesses.

So what are whole foods? Whole foods are natural, unrefined and unprocessed. When a food is in its natural state it provides essential nutrients that the body needs to function optimally.  Whole foods contain beneficial enzymes and nutrients that nourish the body from the inside out.  Whole foods have high amounts of important nutrients and many of them are low in calories.  Foods that contain all the essential vitamins and minerals have been proven to prevent cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancers, skin issues, diabetes and obesity.They are foods given to us in nature, that haven’t been tampered with in a factory and then stuffed inside a cardboard box.

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Foods that have been canned, processed with artificial colors, preservatives, additives and flavors and that are genetically altered (GMO) are not recommended, as they will do more harm in the body then good.  Generally New Zealanders eat a large amount of pre made meals and packaged foods.  People are eating whole grains that come from instant rice, boxed cereals, refined white breads and pastas. All these foods contain little nutrients and are simply empty calories.

Eating highly processed foods can artificially stimulate dopamine (the pleasure neurotransmitter), which plays a role in addiction.  You are eating foods that contain no nutrients but they will create a pleasurable feeling.  Then a food addiction will start because you feel good when you are eating these foods.

Processed food is usually stripped of its fiber.  Fiber lowers cholesterol levels, regulates bowel movements, slows down the absorption of sugar and regulates blood sugar levels and promotes weight loss.  What’s not to love about that?

Potato chips, muesli bars, packaged cereals (you’ve probably guessed by now we hate them!), processed meats and biscuits start out as whole foods but then have dozens of synthetic chemicals, additives and preservatives added into them to increase shelf life, enhance appearance and flavour.  Try eating a baked potato over potato chips, whole grains over boxed cereals, nuts and seeds over a muesli bar and fresh fruit over sugar laden canned fruit.  Read food labels; if you can’t pronounce the ingredients then stay away.

Our body is an incredible organism, constantly repairing itself, filtering out toxins and supplying us with energy.  It works 24/7 so we need to respect it and nourish our temple with the right food.

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Our body contains over one hundred trillion cells, each cells converts the nutrients from food we eat into to the energy we need in order to function and survive.  Because of this we need to be fueling ourselves with the right nutrients, our bodies depend on it.  Good nutrition is fundamental to our very existence. 

The key to optimal health is to feed and nourish our bodies with the necessary nutrients to achieve what they were designed to do.

By adapting to a whole foods diet you are able to get all of your required vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat.  Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean meats, fish, and healthy fats and oils to form the basis of a healthy diet.  Cook from scratch.  This means taking basic foods in their natural form and making them into wholesome, tasty, nourishing dishes. Next time you are at the supermarket ditch the biscuit isle, your body will thank you for it.

As the great Author Michael Pollan says, “Don’t eat anything incapable of rotting”.

J&L xx

Home made Granola

As a kid I used to love Cocoa Pops at breakfast time but now cringe at the thought of eating them.  They are full of refined sugar, artifical colours and preservatives.  Breakfast is supposed to be nutritious, set you up for the day – not make your blood sugar spike and then half an hour later fall asleep.

In my house there are no packaged cereals.  I have learnt to not be fooled by clever marketing – “low fat”, “high fibre”.  According to Food Standards Australia and New Zealand cereal can be labelled a “good source of dietary fibre” if the cereal contains 4 grams of fibre per serve.  I don’t know about you but 4 grams per serve is not a lot when you also have to factor in the sugar and other additives that outweigh the good.  In Cocoa Pops there are 11 grams of sugar per 30 gram serving, that’s huge! On the Cocoa Pops box the labelled claims are “high in carbohydrates” “source of calcium”, I think they missed the part “high in refined sugar”.  There is more sugar in them than cocoa… Sugar pops anyone?

All of this investigating packaged cereals made me think, why not make my own? Cut out the preservatives, additives and refined sugar, add in good fats, minerals and fibre.

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There are a lot of ingredients in this granola as my cupboard is packed with seeds and nuts so if you don’t have everything on hand that I have included it wont be an issue.  Again make this recipe your own, if you aren’t a fan of brazil nuts leave them out; if you can’t find dried blueberries in the supermarket replace with dried apricot.  Nuts are expensive so bulk this up with more seeds if you are not able to obtain large quantities of nuts.  My granola is a bit fancy pants due to me getting over excited whilst ingredient shopping for this blog post.  Keeping it simple is perfectly fine and one of the reasons for me adding so many different foods is to give examples of what you can add.  If you want to splash out do so with the organic honey and maple syrup.  Steer clear of the fake honey as it is going to be full of refined sugar!

Ingredients:

3 cups oats
1 cup puffed millet
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup macadamia nuts
¼ cup brazil nuts
¼ cup flax seed
¼ cup pepitas
¼ cup chia seeds
½ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup dried cranberry
¼ cup dried blueberry
¼ cup organic honey
¼ cup organic maple syrup

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 Method:

  1. Turn your oven to fan bake 150 degree celcius.  Line an oven tray or dish with baking paper.
  2. Put all of the nuts into a blender or food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds so that the nuts break into small pieces.  You don’t want them to be fine and crumbly so be careful not to overdo the blending/processing.  Once broken into pieces place in a bowl.
  3. Measure out the oats and millet, place into bowl with the nuts. Add in the seeds, shredded coconut and cinnamon.  (leave out dried fruit, this goes in at the end).
  4. Pour maple syrup and honey over the dried ingredients and mix thoroughly so that the maple and honey are combined thoroughly.
  5. On the oven tray pour the raw granola mixture so that it is evenly spread.
  6. Place into the oven for 12-15 minutes.  Depending on your oven you may need to keep the granola in the oven for longer.  Keep an eye on it and turn the ingredients at the 7 minute mark so that nothing burns on the edges.  Burnt granola does not taste nice!
  7. Once cooked take out of the oven and let everything cool.  Once cool put into a storage container or glass jar, add in the dried fruit and shake around.

The granola will last for a week to 10 days depending on how air tight your container is.

If you would like a gluten free version substitute the oats for buckwheat groats or quinoa flakes.  These ingredients can be found in your local health food/organic store.

I serve my granola with fresh banana, almond milk and Co-Yo.  SO GOOD!

J x

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White Chocolate and Raspberry Almond Muffins

This week we have another delicious recipe by the very talented Petite Kitchen. If you have been looking for a healthy alternative to muffins then this recipe is perfect.

This is a recipe for gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free and dairy free white chocolate and raspberry muffins.  The muffins are sweetened with cacao butter, I will give you a little insight into what this beautiful ingredient is if you don’t already know.

Health benefits of cacao butter

Cacao butter adds a chocolatey bite to these muffins without all the excess sweetness from refined sugar. The purest chocolate comes from organic food grade cacao butter.
Cacao butter has great medicinal value in treating and protecting us from various ailments and can even be used on the skin as a moisturiser.

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Cacao butter is the pale yellow, edible natural vegetable fat of the cacao bean. Cacao butter is extracted from the cacao beans and can be used to make chocolate, it is made by pressing ground, milled cacao nibs to make a cocoa paste. Raw or organic cocoa butter is made from 100% pure cacao oil.

This butter possess a rich, delicious chocolate aroma making it a great alternative to un-organic butter, chocolate and refined sugar.  Cacao butter is high is good quality fats, 61% of the fats are safe saturated fats that will not oxidize easily, 35% are mono-saturated fats which are the same types of fats found in avocados, nuts and seeds and olives, and the last 4% of the fats are the easily damaged polyunsaturated kind.  This makes cacao butter an excellent food to cook with as it is heat stable and it contains natural anti oxidants that prevent it from going rancid. Any oils or fats that are destroyed under heat will cause inflammation and stress in the body, which is why it is so important to be using the right kind of cooking oils and fats.

Cacao butter is high in antioxidants which help protect the cells against free radicals. Free radicals destroy cells, including skin cells. As they begin to do their damage on your skin, your skin cells quickly begin to age. Cacao butter is high in vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant, it also contains vitamin A and C.

You can add cacao butter to smoothies, desserts and sweet tasting recipes. It can be mixed with massage oil and applied all over the body, some benefits include softer, smoother skin, reduction of stretch marks and helps in treatment of skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. This will leave you smelling like white chocolate.

Libby xx

White chocolate’ and raspberry almond muffins

 5 muffins

These gluten free almond muffins are naturally sweetened with honey and have a divine white chocolate after taste from the cocoa butter. They have an incredible moist, yet light and fluffy texture, with bursts of sweet delicious raspberries with each bite. 

 Ingredients

2 cups ground almonds

2 free range eggs

4 tbsp melted cacao butter (about 1/3 cup)

3 tbsp honey

1 cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)

1 tsp baking soda

a handful of silvered almonds for decorating

Preheat the oven to 160°C, and line muffin tins with baking paper or muffin cases.

In a large mixing bowl, add the almonds, eggs, cacao butter, honey and baking soda. Using a wooden spoon, mix until very well combined. Lastly, fold in the berries. Spoon in to the prepared muffin tins, then  sprinkle with the silvered almonds. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.

Makes 6

2 muffins

3 muffins

4 muffins

 1 muffins

Recipe by Petite Kitchen

Eco Tan

Fake tan has become a staple beauty product with women around the world, especially New Zealand. There has been alot of reports lately over the side effects of fake tan and how they are known to cause cancer.
Alot of fake tans on the market contain dihydroxyacetone (DHL) which is the active ingredient to turn the skin brown. This ingredient has the potential to cause genetic alterations and DNA damage. Some of the other ingredients can disrupt our hormones and may affect fertility and have been linked to other health problems including asthma, diabetes, birth defects, allergies and hormones disruption. Our skin absorbs a large amount of what we put on it, any chemicals that are applied to our skin are then absorbed into our blood stream which are then stored in the body.

For a long time I tried to find a fake tan that didn’t contain any nasty chemicals which was harder then i thought. About two months ago I found a product called ‘Eco Tan’ which is an organic fake tan.  

After having a spray tan with this product I would not use any other fake tan that is on the market. Eco Tan is the first and only tanning range to be certified by the Organic food chain under the Australian government. Eco Tan started when the creators sister was diagnosed with Melanoma, fortunately is was caught and removed in the time but put them off going near the sun. This gave them the idea to create a fake tan that would give you a healthy glow without containing all the nasty ingredients that most fake tans contain.   

Eco Tan does not contain any: Phenoxyethanol, propylene glycol, pegs, parabens, animal derivatives, SD alcohol, silicone, Food coloring or artificial dyes, petrochemicals and in general no harmful chemicals. Instead it uses ingredients like: chamomomilia flower extract, avocado oil, honey suckle flower, grapefruit skin extract, rose geranium oil, grapeskin extract, cacao fruit, aloe vera, glycerin and lecithin. Eco Tan already has some big names that stock it including Gwinganna, Gaia and Versace health retreats.

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This fake tan uses Cacao (chocolate) as the base, unlike other tanning products which use green and orange food colourings as the base, so your skin will look bronzed opposed to orange. The actual DHA in Eco Tan is also certified organic independently by Eco Cert. This means that it must come from a natural source, it is infact derived from sugar rather than chemicals.

The first product is called Invisible tan. This is a moisturiser which is applied to the body and left on for 6-8 hours before it can be washed off. Invisible tan goes on without a bronzer so it is colourless and can be applied before you go to work or sleep. This also means that is will not stain clothing or bedding. The tan will stay on the skin for 7-10 days after one application and because it contains natural ingredients it helps moisturise the skin.

Eco Tan has three other products on the market which include ‘Winter Skin’, ‘Eco Tan extreme exfoliate’ and ‘Rich honey spray tan solution’ (which is for professional use only).

Winter Skin is an everyday moisturiser with a honey due that builds up a tan over the cores of 3-4 applications. This tan can be applied every second day depending on how dark you want to go. Again it contains no nasty ingredients and the colour is from chocolate so you will not have any orange or green tinges.
The Eco Tan extreme exfoliate glove is made from natural plant fibers which can even be used on your face! It is great for pre and post tanning and it can even assist in the removal of clogged pores, millia, cellulite and acne.

The Rich honey spray tan solution is used for porfessional use only. This tan has to be applied using a spray tan machine/gun. This tan is one of the darkest shades and uses Cacao as the base colour so it leaves you with a natural looking tan.

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I have had alot of people enquire about stockists, and it is now available in New Zealand!

Here are the links for the stockists in New Zealand and Australia.

New Zealand

Australia

Next time you need to fake tan try the Eco Tan range out, not only will your tan look natural but your body will be thanking you for using this organic product.

Libby xx

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