Heartsease body scrub

While winter has begun to fade away from our days, it's traces will still be felt on our skin.  Extra layers of dead cells making our skin feel dry, tend to pile up thanks to the artificially heated environments we spend much of our winter time in.

There are a million body scrubs on the market and just as many DIY recipes out there to help you slough off that winter skin.  

So why should you choose this one?

Like many DIY scrubs the ingredients have been selected to create a chemical free and cost effective skin care choice, that's simple for you to put together. But it's more than that, I've chosen ingredients that are not only lovely and safe to use, but are nourishing your body.

The citric acid in the orange zest aids in exfoliation and assists in cleansing your pores.

The pink salt wil also exfoliate, unclog pores and fight bacteria, while massaging your skin with the scrub will also boost your circulation.

Olive oil is an intensive moisturiser, making this scrub perfect for helping you rid your body of winter dryness and become soft and supple for summer. 

For us these are all locavore choices too, the orange, salt and olive oil are all grown and harvested locally, with the heartsease coming fresh from our own garden, more on why they're perfect to nourish your skin below. 

Heartsease body scrub via Mama Nourish

Grab a small bowl and pour in your pink salt, if you're concerned about the coarseness on your skin you can use a mortar and pestle to crush the salt to a finer grain, or add more oil in the next step.  

Stir through 5 tablespoons of olive oil.

Finely chop the zest of 1/2 a small orange and pluck the petals from the heartsease.

Gently stir these through.

Store in a sealed jar ready for your next shower.

Heartsease body scrub via Mama Nourish

Why put Heartsease in a body scrub?

Why heartsease? Uses for Heartsease in the home via Mama Nourish

Heartsease isn't just a pretty face.

Used internally it can be used as a mild calmative, and externally it soothes and assists with an array of skin issues, including the prevention of bruising and broken capillaries, eczema and acne.  It can also be used to help rid your little one of cradle cap, apply the scrub above and gentle massage to the cradle cap affected area to help loosen and remove it.

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Chocolate for Breakfast - Cacao Chia Pudding

Chocolate for breakfast

When I was younger and intent on climbing the corporate ladder by packing in long week works tethered to my desk, breakfast used to consist of a chocolate bar and a bottle of coke.  I know so so bad, yet so so good.  I can tell you while it's a different level of stress, being a mum often has me pining for the feel good hit of chocolate for breakfast, that desk situation not so much.  

Now I'm going to let you in on a not at all guilty pleasure solution to fulfilling my desire for chocolate filled mornings.  You see, a lot of people like to assume that eating healthier, or moving towards a whole food diet means no fun in eating.  The thing is it's not only totally untrue, but also when you do find those wonderful healthful combinations of foods that are fun and nourishing for you, you end up a million times more satisfied than if you'd just eaten that chocolate bar.

It's probably why healthy-foodies often appear a bit smug, they're feeling better because they eat well and they're enjoying it. Not miserably slogging away at a salad wishing it was something else like most people like to portray them.

Here's my smug little foodie secret, Cacao Chia Pudding.

Now I know a chia pudding is nothing new, and a lot of people who've tried them have been put off by the texture of it, this recipe has a little trick that will keep all the awesome goodness of chia in without that gel like texture.

cacao chia pudding via Mama Nourish

In a bowl put your coconut cream (I currently use Ayam brand as it has no other additives or ingredients), Maple syrup, Cacao powder and Chia seeds.  Stir well and refrigerate for two to four hours.

Once Chia seeds have had time to absorb moisture from the Coconut Cream, remove from the refrigerator and place into a blender.  Give it a good blending to break down that gel like texture of the Chia seeds. 

In your container (I use glass jars for convenience) place a layer of the Chia mixture.

Take the Cashew cream* and fold the Cacao Nibs through.

Layer this over the Chia mixture and alternate layers until the jar is filled or you are out of mixture.

Refrigerate for another hour or overnight and enjoy your chocolate for breakfast. 

 

*I make cashew cream by soaking 1 cup of raw cashews for a couple of hours in water, draining, putting in a blender with 1 cup of fresh water, a pinch of salt and the juice of one lemon.  For this recipe I omitted the lemon juice and salt and added a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Want to know why you should use Cacao?

why cacao? via Mama Nourish
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A to Z of Happy and Healthy - B is for Balance, Burnout and Breathe

Hi I'm Lila Wolff, you might remember me from such moments as "that's it I quit blogging" and other burnout inspired rash decisions.  

But seriously who better to talk you through finding balance, avoiding burnout, and what breathing has to do with it, than someone who has had several epic burnout related meltdowns!

So here are my three B's for the A-Z of Healthy and Happy

Balance

The elusive utopia of adult life.  I have several theories about balance, but the key here is that balance today doesn't look like balance yesterday, and probably won't look like balance tomorrow.  Unfortunately there's no magic formula that will work day in day out to help us maintain balance.

Let's instead let go of the normalised concept of balance and in its place opt for the concept of flow.  To achieve flow we can't swim against the tide, instead we have to assess which is the best direction to take with the way things are flowing right now. It's about achieving what we can, through flexibility, and a mindful examination of our present reality.  It can mean redefining what needs to be achieved for us to feel that we're swimming through our lives and to do lists, instead of forcing the tide of life and being dragged under by its current.  

Working towards a natural flow is one of the best ways to avoid hitting...

 

Burnout

Trying to be all things to all people?  Have a MUST do list instead of a would like to achieve list? Racking your brains trying to figure out why, even though you're working so hard and doing all the things, you're not progressing?

Sooner rather than later all this pushing against external resistance to get to your goals is going to result in burnout.  I'm not saying you should abandon goals or the hope of getting to them, but as I said before you need to find a way to do that without constantly swimming upstream.

The way burnout manifests, of course can be different in each of us, but no matter how it appears, it's not good news for any of us.  The important thing is to recognise your early warning signs.  If you find yourself, irritable, snappy, withdrawn, (or whatever your personal reactions to overload stress are) it's time to get on top of it before you hit burnout.

Watch for your early warning signs they'll tell you it's time to..

 

Breathe 

Actually don't wait until you're on the precipice of burnout to work this in to your routine.  Whenever you feel pressure pause, make sure your feet are planted firmly on the ground and breathe.  Not just the unconscious breathing we do to keep up alive, really stop, pause and take in those deep bottom of the lung breaths that you would if the doctor told you to breathe. Count to three on each inhalation and each exhalation, breathing the calm into you and pushing away anxiety and overload. Give yourself space in these short moments of time to allow yourself to let go of pondering other people's motivations, let go of comparing yourself to them. Let go of anything that is weighing on you.

Are you not doing this, and maybe rolling your eyes at me?

I said Breathe, dammit!

Really, I do believe that breathing through can get us through some tough moments, it and swearing are pretty helpful during labour for instance.  But if you've got ongoing pressures these techniques, helpful though they may be, aren't going to cut it in preventing burnout. So there's another element to breathing that I think we all need to ponder, the space to breathe.

We all need a calm space or time that we can retreat to when things are overwhelming, the more overwhelming the more frequent I would suggest you make this space for yourself.  It could be out getting air, getting a massage, yoga, cycling, reading for pleasure. Whatever it is it has to be the right little space for you to zone out and forgetting anything except the present moment and of course to 

Breathe

and if you can't find a space to breathe, I'm lending you one of mine.


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Snacking strategies - building healthy eating habits

Snacking strategies simple steps to changing how you eat

Nourishing, it's not all about food, but food plays a big part not only in the way that you're physically nourished but in the ways in which you function and in nourishing your mind and spirit.  I discussed the impact of food on your emotions in Conscious Eating.  

What if you're ready to change how you relate to food, but one glance in your pantry or fridge has you feeling that it's just too hard.  That's where snacking strategies come into play to build healthy eating habits. But before I share them with you let me rewind a little to the start of my conscious eating journey.

It's been a long, bumpy and incomplete road to improving the way that our family eats.  It began shortly after Eve was born. We discovered what we thought was lactose intolerance and eliminated dairy products (or so I thought, they're hidden in a lot of unexpected places).  We then learned more and found it was a cow protein allergy which lead to removing whey, casein, gelatine, any bovine by-products, which in turn lead to almost all processed foods being outlawed in our home.  As she got bigger and her boundless energy moved into other behavioural issues we then removed all artificial colours and preservatives from our diet.

If you compare my Pre-Eve diet of a junk food loving, high sugar sweet toothed, meat eater to a woman who is now a minimal processed foods, raisin and hummus snacking vegetarian.  Well, it probably doesn't look like the kind of change you feel capable of. Even if you're feeling super ready to change how you eat.  It could even be that it's not the change you envision for you, and that's good because each one of us will find a different combination and intake level of food that works for our body.

You've possibly heard me talk about this before and may be wondering what on earth it has to do with snacks?  

Well, it's all about removing the black and white from the healthy eating picture, and showing you that successful change relies not on dramatic cupboard clean outs or strict cleansing or elimination diets but on small confidence building steps. 

Snacks are a great way to start changing your habits and to build the habit of being prepared with your food, to help eliminate the trap of having to quickly grab something while you're out or on your lunch break.

Snacking strategy 1

Snacking strategy one pre-prepare

Pre-pack little bags with chemical free dried fruits and shelled unsalted nuts.  Pop some in your bag, or at your desk, in any of the places you're likely to find yourself wanting a snack.   The dried fruits will give you a bit of a sugar hit if you're used to snacking on chocolates or other sweets. But instead of processed sugar and a bunch of numbers you'll be getting vitamins, antioxidants and fibre that are going to make you feel much better than that chocolate bar will.  Choosing to add nuts will provide you with good fats, protein and minerals, opting for the unsalted you're helping to restrict your sodium intake too, unlike when eating processed food.

 

Snacking strategy 2

snacking strategy two swap it

Into baked goods?  Who isn't?  There is absolutely no reason that you can't indulge in beautiful baked goods without feeling guilty or sugar-logged.  It's all about swapping and reducing those processed components.  You can start by swapping white processed sugar for raw sugar. Then after you've adjusted to that you can move to other less processed options such as coconut sugar, or panela (evaporated cane juice).  With each step away from white sugar try reducing the quantity that the recipe calls for.  I use between 2/3rds and 1/2 the amount of sugar called for in most recipes, because as I've reduced the sugar my taste has changed.  Less processed sugars have richer deeper notes that mean you don't need to overload recipes with them to get amazing flavours.

This technique isn't just useful for sugar, try swapping one third of your white flour for besan (chickpea flour) or almond meal (if you don't have nut allergies).  For those of us without a gluten issue it's still helpful to move away from processed white flour and towards alternate flours that provide us with a greater range of nutrients.

 

Snacking strategy 3

Snacking strategy three chocolate

You still really really want that chocolate don't you?  It's okay I hear you, sometimes there are cravings that can't be fixed without it.  But before you sit down and demolish an entire block of dairy milk, try this for a change.  Purchase a high cocoa dark chocolate 75% or above. The rich flavours of this dark chocolate will help you scale down the quantity you eat. They also contains minerals, antioxidants and may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.  You can also try Raw Cacao, reported to have twice as many antioxidants as traditional chocolate, Loving Earth have some very nice looking varieties to try which also use alternate sugar sources. 

There are a lot more things that can be helpful when we're on the path to conscious eating, but hopefully these three are helpful to you and make the idea of changing how you eat less overwhelming.

You can make the changes you want to without feeling stressed and deprived, food should be fun!

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Bhaji Blossoms - trying out edible flowers

bhaji blossoms nasturtium via Mama Nourish

I thought this week I'd show you how to dip your toes into cooking with alternate flours, and then because I think the way I do I decided that I'd stretch my love of puns and bring you into the world of edible flowers, because flowers, alternate flour... Puns are fun!

Bhaji Blossoms are perfect for brightening up your salad and adding a bit of crunch and texture without resorting to croutons, which while yummy don't have a lot going on in the way of being nourishing.  There are actually quite a lot of edible flowers, and many of them grow abundantly, dandelions for example, which you could substitute for the nasturtiums in this recipe.  I chose nasturtiums simply because I have access to a huge supply which I know aren't sprayed with chemicals, and because their colours are a perfect way to cheer up a salad and intrigue little ones into trying something new.  Nasturtiums are packed with Vitamin C, Iron, and you can also throw their leaves (which contain antibacterial properties) into your salad.

Despite all these wonderful nutrients you don't want to eat these in high quantities, or at all if you are pregnant, lactating or trying to conceive.

I've styled this recipe after Bhaji which is predominantly an onion based snack but have kept the spices to a more subtle level so as not to overpower the flavours of the flowers themselves. Another benefit of using this style of batter as opposed to a tempura is that Besan or Chickpea flour is gluten free, contains no cholesterol and is high in Iron and Folate. 

bhaji blossoms ingredients via Mama Nourish

This is another super simple low mess, low stress recipe.  In a bowl combine besan, ground ginger and pink salt and mix thoroughly.  Slowly add water until you get a consistency similar to custard. You don't want it too thick or it will pull the flowers apart or too thin as it won't adhere to the flowers.

In a small frying pan add a layer of olive oil about 1 cm deep and heat over a med-high heat.

Test to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small amount of the bhaji batter in, if the oil bubbles around it you're good to go.

Take a flower by its stem and dip it face down into the batter, doing it this way ensures the batter gets trapped in the centre of the flower and doesn't just bubble off when the flower hits the oil and its water content is released.  

Gently dip the flower into the heated oil and cook for about 30-50 seconds.  The flower petals will blister when they hit the oil and it may spit a little.  You only need to gently brown the batter so don't over cook.

Place on paper towel to drain excess oil and then add the flowers to your favourite salad.

Why nasturtiums nourish

benefits of eating nasturtiums
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A to Z of Happy and Healthy - A is for Air

As the days lengthen and warm and we head towards summer, let's head towards nourishing our spirit. For the next 26 weeks I'm going to take us through the A to Z of Healthy and Happy starting of course with a is for air.

a is for air a to z of healthy and happy

Spring has arrived bringing with it the promise of renewal, and beautiful cerulean skies. 

It's time to get out under them.

If you have an hour to spare perfect, half an hour great, only five minutes YES get out there! Any time under those beautiful blue skies will help clear your mind and recharge your soul.  

We all know the benefits of getting in the sunshine for some Vitamin D and away from the toxicity of indoor environments, but what about that much needed thing that as parents we so rarely prioritise.

Alone time

So turn your phone on to silent and get out there, somewhere that you can see green, or if you're trapped in a concrete landscape find some art, squint at the clouds and see what they could be.  It's time to let go of obligation and guilt about obligation.  It's time to take deep breaths and let your mind wander away with your feet.  You don't need to meditate for this, if you're anything like me the way your mind rapidly fires makes true deep meditation impossible. It's just a walk with a walk through to clearing your mind, opening your heart to the simple joys that are in each day.

With each step let go of your plans,

let go of what the rest of the year,

month,

week,

day, 

even the next hour need to hold.

Let your heart hear the rhythm of your footfall, slowing, not racing through to what you need to do next.

Feel the way that the sunlight touches your skin, heats you through your clothes, and the magnificent way that your body absorbs nutrients just by being outside.

Find somewhere to sit and just take in the sound of the world rushing around you, listen closer and hear the parts that have slowed down before you. Don't let your mind pipe back up with where you should be, or what you might have forgotten.*  Just relax and remember how much we all need to be in this space, letting the fresh air move through us, alone but connected with everything.

Feel Better?

 

*Okay maybe don't do that if you might've forgotten to pick the kids up!

 

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