June 28, 2015 § 1 Comment
IS THERE STILL LIFE IN THIS CORNER OF THE WEB??
My poor little blog. I am still so fond of it (and of you!), and yet I’ve left it once again to gather dust bunnies.
Dust bunnies in Spirited Away aka one of the bestest movies of all time
But rather than announcing my return, I’ve come to say this: I haven’t found I’ve been tempted to write as much these days as I have been to make and do things with my hands and body (OOHH, KINKY). My last post was about my need to up the self care, and so, amidst the chaos of a trillion visitors, I managed to implement that somewhat, and now I’m feeling a lot, LOT better. And I felt inspired enough to start an Instagram account to follow some of the inspiring people/ideas out there (and document my own progress). If you’re on Instagram, come say hi 🙂 You can find me here. And follow me if you like… it would make a change from a few of the followers I’ve gained so far (‘GET 100000+ FOLLOWERS INSTANTLY!! THIS REALLY WORKS!!!’). Yeesh.
So I will see you there, or at the very least on your blogs – I try and make time to sit and read my favourites (although I’m more of a silent stalker these days and haven’t been commenting as much… but if you have hits from Australia, chances are I’m one of them *tips hat*).
February 24, 2015 § 8 Comments
For the last 2 months, I have been sick. It has been that sort of insidious ill health that burrows and nestles itself quietly in the membranes of your being, so it is only some time later that you realise something is not quite right. Before any assumptions are made, I’ll be quick to say: this is not cancer, or anything that is threatening my life (despite Google suggesting as much… we all know we shouldn’t Google our symptoms, but it’s always too tempting. The next thing you know, you’re convinced you have a poisonous amoeba living in your eyeball and there is no cure and you will die tonight in a ball of purple flames and curdled guts). But a lumpy, bruise-y rash has made itself comfortable residing along the length of my right shin for the last 7 weeks (I wound up in hospital – they diagnosed it as erythema nodosum). My stomach is a ball of knots and gas and cramps. My muscles ache. A throaty cough that suggests I am 27 going on 99 has lodged itself in my throat. My eyes are weary and I am tired. My body is currently one big pity party and I am fed. Up. What’s wrong? I am of course very grateful that it is nothing worse… but it could be better. I have felt better than this, and I want to feel better again.
I have an appointment with a gastroenterologist in a few short weeks, and I am curious how that will play out. I suspect I know the answer: they will find nothing, and I will be sent home with unanswered (unanswerable?) questions, as has been the case the many, many times I have wound up in hospital as a child, a teenager and now an adult with twisted, knotty gut pain. I first decided to take account of my own health a few years ago because I grew frustrated with the doctors’ blank faces and the lack of solutions. I turned to self-care: to food, to yoga, to mama nature at large, and it helped. OF COURSE it helped.
I like to think I have been looking after myself since the big move, but, on reflection, my once a day salad and *generally* healthy diet (if we ignore the bajillion cupcakes I ate during a short stint working for a cupcake shop. Ahem) is not cutting it. That, and my propensity for burning the candle at both ends… Late nights spent corralling new friends and 10-hour shifts waitressing (hello, universe, give me a job already that utilises a few of the things going on up here in my noggin, pleaseandthankyou), which start at 6.30am. I have trouble drawing lines and boundaries around the kind of life I would like to lead, the circumstances I can’t change, and knowing what, exactly, is good for me (sometimes I reach for what I think is a pawpaw, only to find it’s a prickly pear).
In an interview about the last episode of GIRLS (Close up), Lena Dunham says of Marnie’s character, “she wants things so badly she doesn’t think about why she wants them and what the reality of them is actually going to be.” It is horrible and brilliant and awkward to relate to GIRLS characters (unless you’re a Mimi Rose. What a babe), but that is of course the beauty of GIRLS and why I love Lena Dunham in ways that are probably unhealthy to love someone you have never met (oh hey Lena, I’ve mailed you my still-beating heart in a sealed envelope. With love XOXO). But I digress. Health is about ALL the things, not just the food you’re putting in yo’ belly… But that’s a start. And until some other things start falling into place for me, I will look to food as my little light. It’s time to ramp up this self-care business, beginning with a somewhat strict list of foods I will be eating, and those I won’t. As anyone who respects a healthy relationship with their food and body would say, I hate the word and concept of “diet.” So I will consider it a prescription of sorts to heal my gut over the course of a few months, and for the world to look a little brighter than it does on the days my stomach churns and spits and tells me, lady, you have got to do something about this.
And so. I am going to be eating (and not eating) foods from the FODMAP and Candida lists, which you can find here and here. I am hoping that, in order to keep motivated and interested, you’ll see a few recipes posted on here inspired by these lists in the not so distance future (that future is Thursday. Watch out for a post on a Tropical, Coconut Mess. Yeah).
And that about sums that up for now.
If you’d like to share your experience of how food has made you feel, how it has helped to heal you, or any thoughts about any of the above in general, please feel free to comment below!
February 11, 2015 § 3 Comments
On the corner of a main street, around the corner from my apartment block, is a vegetable store. I don’t frequent it too often, but occasionally a loud sign will announce cheap bananas or the like, and I’ll find myself loading my bike’s handle bars with bunches of kale and fruit that then dangle precariously while I weave through the traffic, like the clichéd bikey, green-leaf-eating Melbourne hipster I seem to have become 😉
On one such day, a near empty box of sad looking prickly pears was labelled with an ‘on special’ sticker. I had never had prickly pears before, although I have always wanted to give ‘em a go ever since Baloo made mention of them. So I bought 3.
Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware
Don’t pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear
Try to use the claw
But you don’t need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
As a child, I thought Baloo’s song was simple, practical advice – your paw will be sore if you grab a prickly pear not by the claw (I’m a poet and I know it). But… IT IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. Before I wax lyrical about Baloo The Philosopher, it is first necessary to say that I did not head his warning: I did not use a claw to pick the fruit. I used my naked fingers, which very quickly sprouted tiny (tiny!) prickles that I could barely see (and which I was still gingerly pulling out 2 days later). So I ate the fruit, hoping that maybe the pain would have been worth the prize… but alas. The yellow flesh was sweet but bland, peppered with pips that were neither pleasant nor annoying. Just sort of… there. And I thought of Baloo again, and how his advice extends to picking a pawpaw instead, if you have the choice. Which, duh, of course you should pick the pawpaw because they’re bloody delicious AND prickle free. But the real moral of the story here is that LIFE has its prickly pears and pawpaws, and I think I have picked my fair share of prickly pears when I could have been eating pawpaws all along.
Like those degrees I started then stopped. Or those boyz I hung around with.
Maybe, though, it is necessary to throw some prickly pears into the fruit salad bowl of life, only so you can appreciate the sweet and smooth pieces of pawpaw… maybe. But in 2015, and on the cusp of my 27th year here on this planet, my aim is to eat as many God damn pawpaws as I can, and leave the prickly pears in their sad little box.
Here’s to banquets of pawpaws,
February 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
A new city = new haunts, new places and new discoveries… and this includes FOOD. I am SO EXCITED to be living in a city famous for its ridiculous number of cafes, hole-in-the-walls and general foodie vibe. I do not need much encouragement to get amongst it all, but as an additional incentive (and just for fun), I’ll make a point of reviewing my finds here on Apples and Anarchy.
My first review is not about a place but a product, which is available throughout Australia (and New Zealand I think!). It is made by a company that is 100% Australian owned and operated… It seems fitting to start with something v Aussie : )
In the South of Melbourne, there is a humming market place. The huge building in which all the market shops and stalls are housed is not pretty: its brickwork is heavy handed and brutalist, the interior is grey and industrial, and the lighting is cold and dimly lit. And yet, some of the loveliest boutiques, artists, florists and grocerists (this is a word I just made up for grocery vendors. It sounds legit so lets just roll with it, yeah?) sell their wares here.
One of these shops is a discount health food store. It is small but stacked to the brim with the usual suspects (supplements, flours, gluten-free this, vegan that, and every nut butter under the sun, to name but a few), and I have spent a considerable amount of time in there, poking and prodding these items lovingly. And in this shop, I have become partial to a little treat known as Banjo the Bear.
I mean, just look at him.
How sweet is that face?? Yes, I’ll willingly admit that I judged t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶o̶o̶k̶ ̶b̶y̶ ̶i̶t̶s̶ ̶c̶o̶v̶e̶r̶ the treat by its wrapper, but I was not disappointed by the contents. Banjo the bear has a distinct carob flavour: a little sweet and earthy, like chocolate in texture but not in taste… Which brings me to say: Carob has a bad rep but only because it has been touted as a “chocolate substitute,” which is grossly unfair. Chocolate is chocolate. Carob is carob. It would be like ordering a muffin, expecting it to taste like cupcake, and being sorely disappointed to find otherwise. But to conclude muffins are “bad” would be a tragedy! (In case you can’t tell, I really like muffins. Cupcakes too. But muffins are muffins. Cupcakes are cupcakes. I think you get my point).
Whilst carob might not compare to chocolate in flavour, like chocolate it does pair so well with mint. Minty Banjo’s carobyness is complemented by natural peppermint essence, which cuts through the sweetness and almost tingles on the tongue (so fresh and so clean).
He is the perfect pocket sized snack and ending to a meal. And if peppermint’s not your jam, these guys also come in plain carob. This one is one for the carob lovers, since the flavour is distinctly carob-y, with notes of vanilla and butterscotch.
Image from The Carob Kitchen
I realise this sounds like a promo of sorts, but The Carob Kitchen ain’t paying me for this – I just really like Mr Banjo, and think you might too!
January 31, 2015 § 9 Comments
It has been 4 months since my last post.
We are 30 days into the year 2015.
There are 15 days until my birthday (!).
And 10 weeks have passed since I left Auckland, New Zealand behind and moved countries (which goes some way in explaining the 4 month absence..!).
So here I am, writing to you from Melbourne, Australia. This is my new home… maybe even my forever-home (a bold statement considering my itchy feet and penchant for moving all the bloody time (ha), but one I am fairly confident to make because I love it here). Apples and Anarchy has never served as much of a diary, so I am not about to delve into the last 10 weeks of my new Aussie existence except to say that: I’m happy (though I do hope to write a post at some point about the concepts of home and moving and loneliness… I have experienced all in very different ways ever since my parents made the first giant leap and shifted our little family to the other side of the world 15 years ago. I would guess that at least a few of you probably have too… So maybe it would be a worthwhile experience to write about and share).
I am feeling settled enough to return to my little blog with some sense of commitment and general desire to make the time to write. Especially about food and health, and – a relatively new thing in my life – serious strength training! I am in a city that throbs with art and music and eclectic characters, and I have been doing my best to absorb it ALL… but however much I picture myself living the poetic and bohemian life, I have to face the reality that: whimsical, ethereal characters and situations only satisfy a certain yearning I have for a romanticised view of human experience… but I get my true sense of comfort, contentment and purpose from green leaves, good food, and… sweating. Does that even make any sense?
And so, as a gentle re-entry into this little haven of mine, here is a ‘recipe’ for a simple but delicious dessert/snack/whatever that I have been making recently. No one can ever tell me that this creation is less satisfying than the creamiest of bannoffee pies, or the lushest of caramel slices – this puppy has it all. It’s rich, thick, sweet-but-not-sickly, and as the ultimate bonus, takes 2 seconds to put together. So without further ado, I introduce to you: The Banana Log.
The banana’s creamy sweetness melds with the buttery, almost-bitter taste of the nut spread beautifully. The cacao elevates this otherwise simple dessert to a royal status, with its plush, velvety texture and rich aroma, punctuated by sweet pops of caramelly date. I served the one pictured with generous dollops of whipped coconut cream, but it’s delicious on its own too.
1 ripe banana
1 tablespoon nut butter (I used a cashew, brazil nut and almond combo)
5 dates, chopped small
1 heaped teaspoon cacao (or cocoa)
2 tablespoons of whipped coconut cream to serve (optional)
Peel the banana. Spoon the nut butter over the top. Squish the date bits into the nut butter along the banana’s length. Top with cacao powder. Eat.
It doesn’t get much simpler than that!
NB I have tried both hot and cold versions of The Banana Log (the hot involved grilling the banana for 5 minutes). I thought I’d prefer the heated version, but I surprised myself and found it became *too* sweet and goopy. But maybe that’s your jam, in which case, do as I did and heat the banana before following with all the toppings as above.
September 9, 2014 § 7 Comments
I am at my mum and dad’s pad for a week’s holiday. Honey Boo Boo sums this up nicely:
You got that right, boo.
I am lucky to have a mamma who shares my passion for
weird healthy food, so I often arrive to a Willy Wonka-esque, fully stocked pantry (that is if Willy Wonka were of the health-food-junkie persuasion, instead of a mildly psychotic chocolatier). Mum’s latest find and creation is a recipe for homemade muesli, inspired by her quest to eat foods that lower cholesterol. Enter: oats. Sarah of My New Roots sheds some light on how these little flaky wonders go about lowering cholesterol levels in this post, if you want a little more insight.
This recipe uses plain oats as its base, and combined with everything else, it makes for a very simple but delicious, sugar free, nutrient-packed breakfast (or lunch or dinner. I ain’t judging) that has kept me full and raring with energy each morning that I’ve had it. So thanks mamma!
The amounts listed below are only rough estimates – you can swap/change/add/deduct amounts as you please, depending on your own preferences.
Mamma’s muesli (vegan, sugar free)
3 cups rolled oats
3 heaped tablespoons cinnamon (this sounds like a lot, but we love us some cinnamon. It packs a flavourful punch, and means that the sugar or sugar substitutes you’d normally find in muesli aren’t needed in this recipe)
½ cup almonds
½ cup hazelnuts
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup goji berries
½ cup dried cherries (or dried fruit of your choice)
Mix it all up in a bowl and you’re done! For an extra nutritious kick, grab yourself a bowlful and soak it over night.
Pair it with your favourite nut milk, or if you’re feeling extra lush, heap it over an acai bowl or green smoothie. I also like mine served with a tablespoon or two of LSA. Enjoy : )
August 30, 2014 § 4 Comments
make your own meditating monkey. Because, well, why not.
Recently, I’ve been making more time for yoga. I’m not sure how many times I have come to the conclusion that, of all the things to abandon when my life gets busy or stressful or overwhelming, yoga should NOT be one of them. Life right now is a series of studies and people and events and projects and change, and whilst I love engaging in ALL THE THINGS, it is simultaneously exhausting. I am skilled at making myself so busy that I am at risk of losing track of my own head, and the past couple of weeks have been no exception. We live in a culture where exclaiming, “gosh, but I am so busy!!” is a marker of success of sorts. I know I am guilty of thinking this very thing. But in reality, spreading ourselves so thinly that at best we’re doing a mediocre job at 100 things and at worst, burning out, is about as productive as doing fuck all in the first place.
Yoga keeps me grounded and reminds me of my limits. It is the reliable friend; the kind and firm voice in my head that tells me to breathe, listen, STOP. Also, my returning to yoga as a daily practice has meant finding a great range of interwebby things related to it, which I’d like to share with you:
I find practising yoga at home a lot easier when a tutor of sorts is guiding me. Naturally, YouTube is my go-to place for yoga gurus! My new favourite channel is Yoga with Adriene – I’ll admit it’s the aesthetics that got me (I’m a sucker for pretty fonts and colours), but Adriene is also lovely and has a great energy about her. Most helpfully, she has a knack for bringing attention to ways we might be compromising our yoga practice in exactly the moments I realise I’m doing that very thing (e.g. clenching my jaw, collapsing in on one side etc).
I really loved this four-part series titled ‘Yoga and Diversity:’ a documentary that highlights how important it is for yoga to be inclusive of everyone and everybody. In the western world, yoga has been co-opted by a largely white, female, cisgendered and slim community, which has in many ways made it difficult for people outside of these labels to access yoga. But there are so many wonderful people out there doing work that aims to change this!
Is yoga something you try and incorporate into your life?