Monday, December 3, 2012

A Story & Some Photos...

I'll be honest, my week has been less than fun.  I had the first appointment of a root canal last weekend and was super happy that it was not at all unpleasant for 2 whole days, until it got infected.  Ouch does not begin to describe.  Enter high dose frequent antibiotic dosing which my body did not like at all and you have reduced tooth pain, but serious digestive and balance issues.  Root canals go right something like 95% of the time and the procedure itself was fine, which is saying something for dentist-phobic me, but when they go wrong, oh do they go wrong.

Anyway, I could definitely have worse problems - like not having good food in my life..

Eggplant parmigiana & roast vegetable.
Meat, who needs it?

Grilled asparagus is amazing dipped in soft boiled egg, in case you haven't tried it.

The beginnings of the healthiest and yummiest of soups.

Vegetable stew.

Our brand new vegetable garden beds!  So excited, will share more as time goes on.

I am lucky to have a front yard absolutely filled with beautiful roses.

My favourite dish from my favourite restaurant - 10 points if you guess what it is and where it is.
100 points if you guess what Mum, across the table, is eating.

My first attempt at paella - needs improvement.  I couldn't find any saffron!

A dinner M & I can agree on.  Yummo.

How have you been?  Are we all pulling away from soups and stews now that Summer has arrived?

I'm not.. yet.

Stay well,
Nat x

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Food from the Week(s)

Firstly, thank you all so much on your beautiful support for my last post.  I was so happy to come back to that!  The new way of being is going well, it definitely suits me.  It's doing wonders for keeping me calm.  I do have to sometimes pull myself up and stop myself counting how many calories I've eaten in my head on my way home from work to help me figure out what I'll eat for dinner, but I am getting there.

Anyway, here is the return of my old 'Food from the Week' post.  I hope you find some inspiration...

The Perfect Meal.
(to me, anyway - fishy, green veg in garlic & chilli, and pumpkin mash)

M on our first pasta making day.  My Ma & Pa got us the machine.

So yummy.

Found a new base I love.  
One is napolitana (my home made cooked-forever tomato sauce, grated parmesan, fresh mozarella, fresh basil and oregano), the other is caremlised onion, blue cheese, toasted walnuts and finely sliced pear.

All you need for pasta when you only have 10 minutes to cook.  Who needs take away??

How this doesn't excite everyone I do not know.  Seriously.

I love making a simple stew out of tomato & garlic base, then a good marinara mix, some peas and some spinach.  Healthy, filling, tasty!  Just add some white wine to your tomato sauce, and maybe a little orange rind and a couple of anchovies for saltiness.

One of my favourite books.  The pasta recipe came from here, and the inspiration for the pizza base (I'm not so good at following recipes).  We also made an amazing meat ragu from this book a few weeks back which I forgot to photograph.  This is real Italian!  If you want an authentic Italian recipe book, I highly recommend.

When I feel full and yucky from over-indulging I like to make soup, sometimes miso, sometimes this 'everything green in my fridge with 3 cloves of garlic and some cumin' mix.  I blend her at the end - don't use too much water, she'll be too runny.
(I just assigned the soup a sex?).

Addicted to Kale Chips.
M thinks I am crazy.

My happy place.

The sun is shining in Melbourne today.  I have a BBQ today, then a quiet din with M for his birthday tonight, then probably a beach day tomorrow.  Can't wait.

Have a beautiful weekend & stay well,
Nat x

PS.  I have been thinking about volunteering with food or running cooking classes.  Is anyone involved in anything like that? 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

No More Rules.

In the past few months, (since stopping blogging), I've really tired of the rules surrounding food and exercise that I've given myself over the past few years.  I don't know how much it comes through on this blog, but I am strict with my diet - it's fine because I enjoy it, but I've regularly been at a point where pasta is the devil, eating any sort of carb was a 'bad food day' and, on more than one occasion, even a gram of sugar was completely forbidden.  I finally cracked when I realised I was pretending to like Slim Pasta.  Great stuff if you need or want to lose weight or stay on a low calorie diet, but guys, that is not spaghetti, and I am not overweight..

Living like a health-nut (as above) sure does get you slim and, in conjunction with 4x weekly gym visits mixed in with some intense home cardio, pretty fit and toned too.

But! I was that girl, you know, the one that cooks you an amazing risotto and then piles a heap of vegetables under hers because she doesn't want to eat the rice.  Or goes to an Italian restaurant and scours the menu for the fish and steamed vegetables option. 
 Italians make excellent pasta!  I don't want to be that girl! 

So I've decided not to be.  

A pretty and irrelevant photo from flickr.

Don't get me wrong, I make healthy food choices because I have too much knowledge not too and I genuinely, genuinely love everything that I eat. But I also love pasta, wine, eating out, my mother's lasagna, bread (rye sourdough, but hey), and, believe it or not, sometimes I want a piece of grossly sweet and sickening Cadbury chocolate instead of the dark Lindt I usually reach for.  You heard it here first, she eats (crappy) milk chocolate.  You know what I don't like?  Feeling guilty, so I've stopped doing that.

Allowing yourself everything is great - honestly, I've lost weight since I started.  What it lets you do is eat your piece of chocolate and put it down, rather than finish the row or block because you 'won't eat any for the rest of the week'.  It also stops you eating 10 healthy cacao balls because you  feel like some chocolate but they're not hitting the spot.

I'm not saying I'm about to go out and eat McDonald's, that is still not food to me, and I still eat my 8 veg and 1-2 fruit a day.  I'm also not saying I've started eating pasta every night - why would I when I can have it whenever I want?  I've just started listening to my body, enjoying food for what it is, and not being scared to glug a little olive oil in my minestrone.  For most people, this is normal healthy eating anyway, but for me and a lot of other nutrition-nuts, this is a huge step!

So while I respect the no sugar crusaders, the paleo lovers and the (fricken' amazing) men & women who train to be in body building contests, those lifestyles are not for me and not at all suited to my highly-strung personality.  I needed to relax about food!

Do you ever get tired of all the rules we place on ourselves, or do you need those rules to maintain a healthy diet?

I'll leave you with my new mantra, taken from Michael Pollan, who's book I have just purchased and will read soon...

"Eat food, not too much, mostly plants".

Stay well,
Nat x

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Heart my Body

Hello!  I haven't been here for a while, but I have certainly been thinking about coming back.  I miss sharing food with you, as I don't have many people in my life that have a passion for healthy food (and food in general) like I do.  Sometimes I have this amazing edible item in front of me and think, 'Gee I wish there was someone here as excited by this as me'.  Enter blog readers!  So I am back.  It may not be regular, but as I want to share, I will come on here.  I've spent the past few months getting settled into my new job (which I fricken' love and am amazed by this opportunity I have been given), and I think, now that I've picked up the majority of the base responsibilities, (one reason I love it is it is constantly changing), that I have some space in my brain to come back to the blogging.

I also read this post from Living, Loving Learning, and learnt about this 'Heart my Body' blog link up.  What a great note to return on.

First, an image of myself I love -

This is an oldie, but I love it.  It was the first Summer I was at my favourite beach after being ill for so long.  In a bikini and denim shorts, lying on the beach with no sound but the waves is my happy place.  I was very thin here, a lot thinner than I am now, but this body had just got me through the biggest, 5 year long physical challenge ever (not just the illness, but the medications to fix it).  I am still amazed by my body and it's ability to recover, and whatever it looks like, I will always admire and respect it.  Note that this is also why I am covered in sunscreen here and never do this for more than 20 minutes.  After living inside in the dark for 3 years due to a medical treatment, I can not describe to you how insanely amazing sun feels on my skin.  I still run outside to feel it at every opportunity.  

Three things I love about my body - 
1. It's ability to recover and repair. 
2. It's strength.  I can't believe how little I could lift when I first started going to the gym, and with regular visits I'm able to lift more and more.  It's amazing, and makes you feel like you could do anything in your day to day life.
3. My waist.  It's a bit vain, but I love that I have a small waist and an hourglass figure.

What do you love about your body?

In other news, I am currently dreaming of travel, trying to abandon eating purely for nutrients and lusting over outdoor settings, decking, lawns and vegetable gardens.  M & his Dad just build two big garden beds out of rail sleepers and I can't wait to see them filled with soil, tomatoes, beans, herbs, pumpkins... everything!  I will share when it's all up and running.

I hope you're all incredibly well and happy and I'll be in touch!

Stay well,
Nat x

PS.  I need need need to share this!  For anyone reading this wondering what happened with my ongoing sinusitis and wondering how they can get their sinusitis to go away - people!  Listen up!  Go to your dentist!  No, he will not extract your nose, but there is a chance that, like me, you just have a whopping great abscess on a tooth pushing into your sinuses causing all the problems and you just need a root canal!  So remember that lots and lots of things can be caused by your teeth!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Checking In


I'm not sure what has happened, but I have lost my blogging passion.  It is most likely a result of starting full time work in a job I am finding really challenging and super enjoying, mixed with reading a lot about mindfulness, meditation and Buddhism - something that has affected the way I think much more than I ever thought it would.

But I'm still around..

That was Crown Towers last weekend for M's work function.

I'm still loving everything I've always loved on here, I'm just spending a whole lot more time enjoying it rather than photographing and writing about it (and thinking about how to write about it, or experiencing not-totally-hot breakfasts because I was trying to get the perfect shot).  It's strange.  I guess I don't feel the need to share it right now and I am focusing my energy else where, even if I have received lots of beautiful messages saying they miss my posts (absolutely unexpected and lovely!).

As a result of those lovely messages I decided to come back and just let you know what's happening with me.

As I mentioned, the new job is great.  It's funny how how life works out - I was so, so dead set on becoming an amazing nutritionist, and then within 2 months of study realised it was a personal passion, not a career path passion.  I love supply chain, (I have become a supply chain manager!  Very exciting, for me). I know it's crazy and it's certainly not something I ever thought I'd do when I was younger (let alone know existed), but I love it.  I think I've found my career calling.

I've been battling sinus issues all year.  For anyone who's ever had a serious bout of sinusitis, I feel ya!  My gosh, what a nasty little asshole it is.

As a result, my exercise regime has suffered badly and I feel terrible.  I'm beginning to rectify this weekend starting with M's birthday present to me (be it early), a brand new amazing exercises bike.  Yay!  So excited to start feeling good again.

I've really re-learnt over the past few months how food effects my body and am getting right back into how I was living, eating and exercising when I was recovering from CFS - I know it's not just medications that cured me.  I felt amazing because I was looking after my body amazingly, and I need to get back to that.

Another thing that really changed my mind frame was a good friend of mine, who also suffered through stupid CFS and did the same treatment protocol I did and recovered like me, (my health twin), was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She got on the road to recovery very quickly, which is a huge relief, but this stuff happens to people, people I know, people not very far off my age! I know for a fact that although we can never avoid it all together, we can reduce our risk with the choices we make, and I intend to make the best choices forever from now (well, from about 24 hours after I found out about her diagnosis).

So yes, that's me at the moment.  Nothing super exciting, just enjoying life!

If you want some new health inspiration (and I don't know the person that started this at all, just stumbled upon), maybe take a look at this facebook page, or head over to one of the web sites or blogs listed on the side of this one.

I truly hope you're all healthy, happy and inspired.

Stay well,
Nat x

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Be Back Soon.

I have been quiet the past week.  I've found myself retreating to the couch with magazines, sipping on tea around the clock and hiding under bulky scarves - I'm wanting to do anything except get on a computer.  I feel quite tired.

I start my new job tomorrow and I am so excited to take on a new challenge and tackle what looks to be a great opportunity, but of course I am nervous.  In fact, between us, I appear to be experiencing some general anxiety at the moment; another reason I am focusing on me for a while.

So I just wanted to let you know I am still here and will come back. I am still cooking and eating, and the 50 Days No Sugar challenge is going really well (I feel amazing and I've never been more full).   Just taking a little break from online life - I'd rather this than posting without the passion.

Eat well, stay well & we'll speak soon,
Nat x

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

You MUST try...

Drinking Coconut/Young Coconut! 

I got my first ever today at Coles (on special for a dollar something) and I am so impressed.  Tastes amazing!

I tried coconut water out of a bottle once, too, and it was revolting.  This is completely different.

(time for a new web cam)

Ohh the possibilities with this water and it's left over flesh are going to be endless...

I am food excited!

(You can read a little about it's nutrients here, or with a quick Google)

Stay well,
Nat x

Sunday, July 1, 2012


I got this little questionairre from the gorgeous Dig In blog of which I am a regular reader.  I love reading things like this others have filled out as I am, like I believe most people are, a big sticky nose!  I just love knowing what other people do and think and.. well everything.  I think this is why reality TV and blogs are so popular.  Anyway....

What is the secret to a great recipe?

For me, it should be simple and surprising.  I'm not into 40 ingredients and I love being surprised by the flavour combinations of a few simple ingredients being put together in a way I wouldn't have thought of.  Simplicity is the key! 

How can we cook a restaurant-quality meal at home?

Practice, but having said that I agree with Dig In's answer; why aim for a restaurant quality dish at home?  Enjoy that in the restaurant and keep it simple in your own kitchen.

What is your number one rule in the kitchen?

I don't need help!  I know that sounds silly, but when I am cooking I like to take control.  It's relaxing to me and I get irritated if people jump in and start doing parts of it.  It's alone time, in a way (that or I'm a control freak). From a cooking point of view I'd have three rules; keep in simple, have fun and don't be scared.

What meal best reminds you of your childhood?

Minestrone.  I used to eat it by the bucket loads.  I loved vegetables as a kid.  

Can you give us some inspiration for a quick and easy weeknight meal?

Omelette's are always easy, you can add garlic, onions, herbs and spices for flavour and any vegetables you have around - and they're healthy!  You can even soak some rice noodles or add some left over rice or pasta for a bit more bulk - or a can of tuna!

What’s in your fridge at home right now?

A lot - eggs, milk, bread (yes I keep it in the fridge), butter, cheese (about 5 types, we love cheese), lots of fresh vegetables, green apples, bacon, sparkling mineral water, firm tofu, muesli, nuts, pure maple syrup, seafood for dinner tonight, LSA, chia seeds, loads and loads of lemons (both sets of parents have trees - one Meyer, one traditional), milk (rice and lactose free), natural Vaalia yoghurt, various seeds, sultanas, tahini, various condiments, mountain bread.... you get the idea.

If we asked you what are the essential ingredients in any kitchen, what would be on your list?

Garlic!  Tomatoes, onion, chilli, plenty of fresh fruit & vegetables (preferably what's in season), loads of herbs & spices, olive oil, eggs, cans of tuna, cans of beans, cheeses, flour, rice and rice noodles, pasta.... I could go on forever.  If I had a top 5 - Garlic, tomatoes, legumes, sweet potatoes and eggs are always in my house.

I would love to hear your answers...

In other news, I have decided to integrate my two blogs into the one Facebook page.  Click here to like them now!

What do you think of me merging this blog with my fashion etc blog into one big blog?  I'd love your thoughts.

I hope you all had a great weekend.

Stay well,
Nat x

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Food from the Week

Morning!  First of all, thank you all for your wonderful feedback last week regarding my food from the week posts; it's sooo lovely to hear people like staring at them as much as I like putting them together.  I love seeing what other people eat as well, so maybe some of you could start doing a similar post so I can sticky nose?  I think so!

It's a beautiful and sunny winter's morning here in Melbourne.  M & I are off for a night away in the country and I can't wait.  Tomorrow I am starting the 50 Days No Sugar challenge!  

Anyway, here is my food from the week....

Din of grilled eggplant and zucchini, topped with a chunky tomato based pasta sauce and parmesan cheese.  M got actual pasta.

Recipe in the making - a no sugar friendly slice.
Ignore the chocolate drizzles which were added for M.

Some Sunday mornings just need bacon & eggs.


Lazy Lunch.  
Lucky my local sushi place is good.

Soba noodles with broccoli, cabbage, carrot and an egg for lunch.
Super filling.

This is the first week I've started eating Chia.. it makes everything more filling.

Prawns on roast veg with beans and lots of garlic, chilli and parsley for dinner.

A traditional soup from my childhood.
Usually involves lamb, but I replaced with sweet potato.

First time in ages I've eaten this - I missed it!

Felafel, cabbage, egg, cheese and mountain bread lunch.  Perfect!

Light breakfast.

I'm on and off with the gluten free thing.  I found myself hungry all the time, but I still feel really heavy if I have too much gluten at once.  That being said I have been tested before and I am not intolerant.

What's on for everyone's weekend?
Did you eat any good food this past week?

Stay well,
Nat x

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spotted this Morning

What is on for everyone's Wednesday?  I can't stand that people call it hump day.  I like to think the working week is not some horrible obstacle to be conquered - even if you're in a job you don't like, or you've got a cold and are struggling through, try to embrace it.  If you're unhappy I find it's a lot easier to deal with your situation if you know you are actively trying to change it.

Anyway!  Two things I spotted this morning and wanted to share with you...

Health Hamper

Lola Berry posted this on her Instagram this morning - what a brilliant idea!  Who doesn't love a hamper?  And wouldn't it be great to open it up and discover all sorts of healthy, tasty treats instead of the usual choccy biscuits and quince paste?  Everyone loves strolling through health food stores wondering what it all tastes like!  I can't believe I've never seen this done or thought of this before. Dahhh!

The Power of Chia Seeds 
a comparison to other foods

(posted on this Facebook - though a friend of mine shared & that's how I got it)

Pretty impressive.  I'll admit Chia seeds are not a part of my daily diet, but I think I'll have to buy a bag and see how I go!

Today I am going to meet my new boss!  I am a little nervous and very excited - we spoke on the phone and he sounds great, so I'm hoping we get on as well face to face!

I'm also working on a slice recipe  - super healthy, high in protein, packed with goodness and 50 Days No Sugar friendly!  Hopefully I'll have a recipe for you by this time next week.  Still refining..
Have a beautiful Wednesday.

Stay well,
Nat x

PS.  Somebody semi-attacked me for advocating the Nat Carter's no sugar challenge yesterday on my personal Facebook.  Can I just say that I respect all of my readers and personal friends and, as a result, I know that they make decisions about what they do with their bodies and lives based on their own research and opinion, not based on what I or anybody else says.  I know you're not sheep!  x

Monday, June 25, 2012

Why I Love Yoga

Yoga is something I consistently practiced as I started to and was recovering from CFS/ME. First with the assistance of the Wii Fit M bought me at the time and then, after trying a few DVDs and youtube videos to get the hang of doing the poses I liked properly, I did it solo.  I've only recently introduced yoga back into my life and today decided to make it a daily thing again.  I truly believe it played a part in helping my body heal and prepare for healthy life and it got me moving again in a way that wasn't as strenuous as something like walking or pilates (which came a few months after starting yoga).  It was my first foray into exercise after 5+ years without any and I still feel better after a session which always consists of almost identical sets of poses that I did all those years ago, today.  

Me.... doing yoga....
img cred

So why do I love yoga?

These may not all be scientifically proven reasons, but this is how it affects me and why I love it...
- It helps me digest
- It gives me greater flexibility
- I feel it helps strengthen my core 
- It is so, so relaxing
- It brings attention to my breathing and feels quite meditative
- It requires no special equipment and costs nothing
- It's challenging without completely physically exhausting like.. running sprints

If you want to give Yoga a go and have never done it before, I recommend taking a class, or at least watching some reputable youtube videos or DVDs; don't just get a chart and try and copy the moves without any verbal instruction or physical demonstration as you might hurt yourself.

Wear comfortable clothing - nothing constrictive.  I do my yoga at home and just between you, me and the internet, I like to wear no pants.

I do a series of 13 poses and it only takes 25-30 minutes, depending on how many breaths I hold each one for, but even if you spend 5 minutes doing 3 poses each day I truly believe you'll see benefit in a few weeks.

I do want to add, though, that I do not see yoga as a replacement for cardio or weight training, just as a beautiful addition.  

Do you practice yoga?

Stay well,
Nat x

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Everybody is a Genius.

(I'm not sure where it originally came from, but the Gay Rights Australia Facebook page is where I saw it)

What a lovely thought for a Sunday morning.
Go forth & use your genius!

Stay well,
Nat x

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Food from the Week

Before I hop into this one; Who likes my weekly 'Food from the Week' feature?
Is it a highlight or a low light?
Let me know what you think...

 I don't often eat toast but when I do, maannn do I enjoy it.
The fridge asked me to eat Ricotta and Avocado, so I did.

This would look like a healthy lunch to most, but this scrap of lettuce, pile of 'wholemeal' crackers and canned pumpkin soup was revolting.  I was seriously running out of food this week.

This photo does not do justice to the amazing-ness of vegetable broth with soba noodles.

Lazy lunch that involved no where near enough fresh crunch.
That is ricotta, olive tapenade and tahini.

The yumminess that is a 'Natty Dinner'
Grilled veg on a pile of sweet potato mash with mushrooms and chickpeas cooked in garlic, french mustard and a little rice milk for creaminess.
M did not approve.

This was amazing.  Balsamic and avocado are meant to be together.

Light din after a big day of eating.  I am having a love affair with cauliflower.

If you can master a good, basic Italian tomato sauce, you can do sooo much.
Here is is with some tuna, peas and capers thrown in.

Look what arrived!
Yet to confirm when I'll be starting but it will be done in the next two weeks before I return to work.

Ordering Pizza?  Try it the Natalie way..
"Vegetarian with extra veg, add anchovies and only a sprinkle of cheese, please"

What food has inspired you this week?

Don't forget to leave me a little comment letting me know what you think of my weekly snaps of food...

Stay well,
Nat x