Favourites for Now: August 2014
Phwoar, it's been a while since my last Favourites for Now! Truth be told, nothing has really blown my socks off. However, lately I've been crushing on a few things...
I've always been a bit of a green smoothie fan, but last week I went on a bit of a blitz and prepared a couple weeks' worth of green smoothies. Basically, pop your fruit and veg ingredients (chopped/grated) into individual zip lock bags, pop in the freezer and then each night, pull one out and put it in the fridge so it's ready to be blitzed in the morning - just add water, nut butters, powders, seeds etc in the morning. I found I had so many superfoods etc in my cupboards that weren't being used, and green smoothies are the easiest way for me to eat them without turning my nose up. I've also been having some skin issues (more on that later) so I'm hoping the rainbow of raw fruit and veg I'm getting, along with my superfoods, will do the trick to get me glowing a bit more.
I personally don't really like banana (the base of many green smoothies) and I do try to limit my sugar intake, so I choose to use low-fructose and/or high antioxidant and/or gut-friendly fruits - things like berries, paw paw, pear, pineapple. I also "sweeten" with beetroot or carrot, and more often than not I add a protein powder (lately it's About Time's choccy vegan powder). Do make sure you add in a fat to slow down the sugar release of your other ingredients - I like using things like nut butters, pepita butter, avocado, chia seeds or hemp seeds. If you're new to green smoothies, use a bit more fruit to suit your palate, and spinach as your base veg because it's pretty mild. Slowly start replacing some of the fruit with different veg, and then if you feel brave, chuck in an itty bit of spirulina or chlorella powder.
My smoothies for the next two weeks are mixtures of any of the following (I chop all these things up then chuck them randomly into the zip lock bags haha):
Fruit: Paw paw, pineapple, pear, blueberries, raspberries Veg: Spinach, kale, bok choy, beetroot, zucchini, grated ginger Other: Bee pollen, spirulina, Loving Earth's Rainbow blend, cacao powder, pepita butter, chia seeds, hemp powder, protein powder
Washing my hair with bi-carb soda, conditioning with apple cider vinegar
So, as I mentioned above, I've been having some skin issues and that has also messed with my scalp (cheers, oestrogen and your mate progesterone...and your new bestie testosterone). This is common, I've found, when people come off the oral contraceptive pill because suddenly testosterone is invited to the party again and it takes control of your sebum production and generally wreaks havoc.This results in a delightfully oily scalp and a shit tonne of pimples.
Where I used to be able to go a couple of days between washes, my hair needs a daily wash now and I'm not dead keen on spending big bucks on heaps of shampoo, nor stripping my hair completely. So I've started using household staples: bi-carb and apple cider vinegar. Grab a little tupperware tub with bi-carb, scoop out a handful, wet the other hand and then form a paste. Rub it into your scalp (not the ends of your hair because it might be a bit drying) and leave it while you wash your body/shave/whaddeveryoudointheshowerI'mnotjudging. Rinse. Now it's time to condition. I have a plastic spray bottle I got from the supermarket laundry aisle. It's 1/3 apple cider vinegar and 2/3 water. Squeeze the water out of your hair then spray the ACV all over, particularly at the tips. ACV will lock in the moisture. Leave it for a minute and then rinse. It won't feel like your hair is super soft like a supermarket conditioner does, but don't worry, it brushes out fine. Dry and style as normal! I personally haven't found I could smell the vinegar... If you feel you can smell it, I'd recommend adding a few drops of essential oil to your ACV mix - something like chamomile or other florals, perhaps.
Sam Smith has been on high rotation on my laptop, iPhone, gym iPod. I am loving his stuff. Especially this song:
And this one:
And this one:
MooGoo Acne Cleansing Cream
Continuing with my skin troubles, I have been getting a stack of really big, red, sore, unsightly spots on my chin and jawline (ladies, these are normally hormone-related), and also along my hairline (stress-related). What I love about MooGoo's Acne Cleansing Cream is that it doesn't claim to be a miracle overnight cure. I've been naughty before and used anything and everything to dry out spots, and poked and prodded and squeezed....resulting in some red scarring #goodone. MooGoo's cream isn't drying at all (because it doesn't contain benzoyl peroxide, which most acne products tend to use) and smells quite nice, which is a change from other spot treatments I've used! It's very gentle, and MooGoo says it could take a couple of weeks to see noticeable results, and I'm okay with that. I've already noticed I haven't had any really mean lookin' spots on my chin, though still lots of little ones, but there's definitely been an improvement in the 5-or-so days I've been using it. I wash my face at night (using MooGoo's oil cleansing method for combination skin, and a warm, damp microfibre cloth that I picked up in the laundry aisle of Woolie's), then while my skin is still damp, I massage the Acne Cleansing Cream into my skin, focusing on my jawline and chin. A smidge of eye cream later and I'm good to go.
Kombucha is made by fermenting tea with a mushroomy-type ugly creature called a scoby. Squirming yet? Ha! I don't know much about the ins and outs of kombucha and have never tried making it at home (it's in the "too hard for now" pile), but the kombucha I've tried are sparkling, cider-y tasting drinks with huge probiotic properties so it's great for the gut! The most common brand I've seen in Perth is Mojo's, but now there's a local!!!! Indibucha is a Perth brand by Indinature and so far, I'm keen beans on it. It's slightly less sweet than Mojo's, and tastes a bit more like cider, whereas Mojo's has more of a soft drink/ginger beer flavour. My point: kombucha is a great alternative for when you really feel like a beer/cider or a soft drink.
Foley's Frothing Fermentations
Again on the local bandwagon, Foley's Frothing Fermentations is the genius product of Margot Foley in Margaret River, and the line is becoming increasingly available around Perth. I've tried the sauerkraut and kim chi and they are SO GOOD. I've made sauerkraut before, but again, lately it's been in the "too hard for now" pile and I'd heard such rave reviews for Foley's Frothing Fermentations. As with kombucha, sauerkraut and kim chi (...basically spicy sauerkraut for the purpose of explanation) are fermented products meaning they are full of great probiotic bacteria to keep your tummy happy. I've been having a forkful with each meal. Yummm.
Okay, so sesame oil isn't the best oil for you by any means, and normally I'm drawn to coconut and olive oils for cooking, and EVOO, walnut and avocado oil for pouring, but what I do like about sesame oil is that it's bang for buck - just a few drops adds a new flavour to meals. Last night, for instance, I baked some salmon in the oven with a bit of tamari for a bit of an Asian sensation. I served it with some boring ol' steamed broccoli...then sprinkled the broc with a couple of drops of sesame oil and it immediately made my dinner more enjoyable. Walnut oil is also a good flavouring oil!
I've been researching dogs and falling in love with puppies left, right and centre. Because this: