Grateful, mindful and living my best life

Category Archives: Healthy eating

I was very excited when my sister lent me her juicer earlier this week. I have had a ball creating delicious (and a couple of not so delicious) concoctions. Here are three of my favourite so far:

Beet Red

1 beetroot, peeled
3 carrots, ends removed
2 celery, leaves and all
1 apple, stem removed
1 pear, stem removed, or 2 apples

Pink Lady

1 cup of strawberries
1 grapefruit, rind removed
1 orange, rind removed

Green Goodness

3 stems of kale
3-4 stems of celery, leaves and all
1/2 a cucumber or one small one
2 green apples,stem removed
few leaves of mint
1 lemon, rind removed

Here they are, I might have had a bit much of the Pink Lady pre photo!!



So some might call me a spoil sport, others may appreciate my efforts.  But for better or worse I have taken one of my son’s favourite party recipes and made a heathier option. Hedge Hog has long been a favourite of my family. I can remember my mum making it for every birthday party and Christmas, and as a treat or for a special occasion. When I had my son almost 6 years ago, my one request was that she make me some hedgehog. Well ‘some’ turned out to be an entire tupperware container full! Over the years she has occasionally ‘fiddled’ with the recipe, using a different brand of cocoa powder and I always could tell.

But now that I am vegan and a much healthier eater, good old Hedge Hog just doesn’t cut it any more. So on the occasion of my son’s class party this week, I decided it was time it got a make over…

The regular recipe contains 1 egg, 1 cup of sugar, sugar laden cocoa powder and icing sugar, amongst other things. So my challenge tonight was to create the same intense flavour without all the crap.

So here it is, my Healthified Hedge Hog

1 packet gluten free, vegan arrowroot or plain sweet biscuits
4 ounces nuttelex or alternative vegan ‘butter’
1 table spoon Raw Cacao Powder
2 soup spoons of Coconut sugar (sorry i didn’t measure out by tablespoons/teaspoons)
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla powder or essence
1 chia egg (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of warm water and sit for 2-3 minutes)
1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup

Mix the all ingredients apart from the biscuits on a low heat on the stove, until all melted and combined.

Remove from heat.
Crush the biccies in a food processor or with a rolling pin until they are still a little chunky, you don’t want them powder fine.
Add the biccies to the wet mix and combine well.
Press out into a lined tray.

Instead of the icing sugar and hundreds and thousands on top, I sprinkle on desiccated coconut, before putting into the fridge to set.

And I have to admit, these taste pretty damn good, and are just as sweet.


Al xx


So I am female, so the chances of me participating in Movember are (hopefully) non existent.

That was until I made this awesome connection this morning …

I have a green smoothie most days. They are mostly full of kale, banana, coconut water, superfoods and all the good stuff. They are well known now as a great way to get in nutrients and are quick and easy to make.

For those who haven’t come across her yet – Jess Ainscough aka  “The Wellness Warrior” is the queen of green smoothies. She even put out a free recipe ebook on her website when you subscribe to her email. She calls this ebook, The Green Mo Revolution. If you live in Australia you would certainly remember the run of TV commercials for the dairy industry in the 90s where celebrities drank milk and then had a mustache of milk left on their upper lip. Folk in the wellness world know that milk is not actually ok for our bodies. Milk is the one thing that everyone has some form of intolerance to (I learnt this is some allergy and asthma training I did for my work in Child Care). We actually lose the enzyme to digest cow’s milk at 2 years of age. Quite simply, our bodies cannot digest it.

Can you remember feeling bloated and crap after a yogurt or milk shake??

So Jess’ idea was to replace the milk mo with a green mo. Much much better for us, and the poor creatures that have to endure the dairy industry. That’s my vegan evangelizing coming out. If you want to find out more about this, please google it, I won’t go into it on this post.

Anyhoo, if you want to read more about Jess and her wellness world, and get some awesome green smoothie recipes, go to

So how does this all fit in with Movember?? Easy! I am going to make sure I have a green smoothie each day in November. I might even try some new recipes. In the mean time, enjoy this recipe of mine, my most favourite and most basic recipe. A great one to start with if you are new to the green smoothie game. Your taste buds will take a bit of time to get used to eating this way, give it time and don’t quite! Your health will thank you for it!

Al’s Green Smoothie

1 cup of coconut water

3 pieces of frozen banana (Break your nani up into 3/4 inch pieces and throw into a plastic zip lock bag in the freezer)

2 kale stems – only the leaves

Juice of half a lemon, or lime

1 teaspoon of lumuca powder

1 teaspoon maca powder

Blitz in the blender. I don’t have any fancy pants blender, just a regular old Kambrook. If yout blender isn’t too happy with it, do the coconut water and the banana first for a little while before adding the kale etc.

Drink strait away, green smoothies don’t like being left in the fridge or in glass bottles in the light. Makes them go off.


Al x

This is my go to recipe for bliss balls. It never fails me, always satisfies me and on occasion impresses others. It is free of refined sugar, it is vegan (but doesn’t have to be), contains superfoods and is generally full of all the good stuff. Enjoy!


1 cup almond meal

1/2 cups shredded coconut (can use desiccated)

1 1/2 cups sunflower seeds

1/2 cup pitted and chopped dates

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1/4 cup pepitas

1 tea spoon cinnanom

1 teaspoon lumuca powder

1 teaspoon maca powder

1 teaspoon mesquite powder

2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder

1/4 cup melted coconut butter

1/4 cup rice malt syrup or (honey if you prefer)

few swirls of coconut nectar

Plateful of desiccated coconut to roll in.


Get out your food processor, and start with the dates. Then add the seeds. Then it doesn’t matter what order you wack in the rest of the ingredients.

Once all combined, roll into balls about a teaspoon size of mixture, then roll in the coconut.

If you are feeling lazy or don’t have much time, you can line a shallow slice tray with baking paper, and press the mixture into it, and sprinkle the coconut on top.

Put in the fridge to set. These are really nice if you let them come up to room temp when serving, that way the coconut butter is nice and soft and it makes the cacao taste so yum.


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This cold wet and windy afternoon I went into the kitchen armed with a recipe.  About a third of the way through I soon realised that I didn’t actually have all the ingredients I needed! So I decided to continue on and intuitively follow my own ideas and came up with these little gems!  They actually taste amazing and a lot like biscuit batter, but without all the refined crap and sugar. A bit like peanut butter. So these are vegan, gluten free, raw, free of refined sugar and delicious!


I am calling them my Accidental Bliss Balls!

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1/2 cup macadamias

2 TB tahini

1 TB maple syrup

1 TB chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon Lucuma

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 date

sesame seeds to roll in

Start by combining the nuts and tahini in your food processor.

Once all combined and chopped up well, add the rest of your ingredients.

You can roll them into little balls and coat with sesame seeds, or leave as is.

These would also be a bit awesome with some raw cacao nibs and raw cacao powder if you wanted.


Al xx

Only 2 years ago I was a self confessed gym junkie. At this time I was going to the gym 6 mornings a week, doing 1 or 2 classes at a time. I would take my young son to the creche, even if he was unwell. Hell, I would exercise if I was unwell, or had an injury, or if I was completely exhausted. I would sometimes do a class in the morning and go back that night and do another! I was also doing PT once a week and group PT too. I didn’t realize that I was trashing my body. The gym industry didn’t just support me in this, it completely encouraged it! But I was not supporting my body with the nutrients it needed, and generally treating my body with a complete lack of respect.

During this time I was plucked from the group fitness floor and asked to be an instructor. It was something I had never considered, but saw it as a massive achievement for me to complete by Les Mills Bodystep training, and start instructing classes. (In hind site, it was the best thing for me that this didn’t lead to a permanent class, as it would have immersed me even more in the sometimes poisonous gym world) Although I was achieving a big personal goal of mine which was to be an instructor, at this time I was suffering with injury, sickness and I was not getting any fitter or stronger, in fact I was going backwards.

I was totally not listening to my body, which was crying out for help in the form of injuries and exhaustion. There is only so long you can trash your body before it finally says, enough is enough. For me, it was in the form of Glandular Fever. I finally had to stop.

When I tell it like that, it seems like a sudden thing, but in reality it was something that was changing and evolving over about 6 months. During this time I discovered yoga, and with the guidance and influence of my teacher, started to listen to my body and start to eat better.

It was a gradual process that lead me to my current life of a few yoga classes a week and one PT session.  And maybe a Pump class now and then. Instead of exercising to the point of almost vomiting or passing out, I come to exercise to nourish my body and work on wellness.  I am a completely different person than I was. Now, I eat with respect for my body.

A part of this change also has to be put down to my life outside of the gym.  I surround myself with only positive people, which has meant that people have left my life in the past couple of years, and I am fine with that.  I do a lot of yoga, meditate daily and stretch. I have had the courage to quit my job and go back to study and have changed my career path to do what truly makes me happy each day. At 35 years old, I am fitter, stronger and happier than I have ever been.

A big part of this has been my friend, mentor and PT, Ashlee Cummins. You can find her and her inspiring take on exercise at It is a refreshing way of looking at your exercise, from someone who was, for many years, ‘brainwashed’ by the gym environment too. And I don’t say that as a derogatory comment to Ash, we all were!

Here is one of Ash’s workouts featured on Claire Baker’s website (Certified Health Coach)

If you have a gut feeling that what you are doing is actually doing you harm, take a moment to have a think about it. Don’t blindly accept and follow the claims and ideas laid out by your local gym. Exercise should not be about punishing your body for ‘eating that cake’ or taking out your frustrations about your bad day at work. Take the focus out of the amount of calories you have burned, instead listen to how your body feels during and after your workout, and measure the results with your clothes, NOT the scales!

And if you are reading this and thinking, ‘she sounds like a wimp’ don’t be fooled. I still work very hard and suffer many uncomfortable moments in my workouts! I have just achieved a goal of mine to do a yoga pose called Salumba Sirsasana (supported headstand) off the wall, and that shows me that my core and upper body are stronger than ever. My mind is also in the right place 🙂

Al x

Just a quick little post to let you all know about a wonderful idea to try to change your eating habits, or re affirm existing habits during September.

A wise lady once told me “it’s not the fat in food that will kill you, it’s the sugar”

We have been told for years that fat is bad. Ok sure some forms of fat are, eg trans fat, BUT sugar is the big danger. In the worst case it causes cancer. Some forms of artificial sweetener cause Parkinsons Disease. On a day to day level, it stuffs with your hormones, making you prone to wildly swinging moods, inability to concentrate, memory loss, getting really angry and feeling depressed and just generally crabby. So why eat it when there are perfectly good alternatives out there for us! It is the refined sugar that is the killer.

I am an avid instagrammer, and I stumbled across this inspiring woman Cassandra Michelin aka @liveitdoit . She also has a website which is She has founded this wonderful challenge for the month called ‘Sugar Free September”. Not just a photo a day challenge, but the idea of Sugarfree September is to educate yourself on the dangers of refined sugar products, have a look at ways you can remove them from your diet and replace them with heathier, but still just as sweet, alternatives.

You can just join in on instagram, or if you feel so inclined you can sign up for a FREE Renew food Journal in e book form. Follow the links on her website  🙂

In the ebook there is a great list of sweetners to avoid, and enjoy.

Some great sugar alternatives are raw honey, coconut sugar, fruits, barley malt syrup, maple syrup, dates, stevia and rapadura sugar.

I already eat very well, however it has made me take a closer look at the ingredients in the foods that I don’t prepare myself – eg my almond milk. Turns out it has agave syrup as the sweetener. Now, it is up to me to decide what i want to do about this.

Here’s to a Sugar free September!

Al xx

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