Food-Stress Syndrome

For those of you who follow thymes.two on Instagram would know that I study nutrition and am utterly obsessed with anything health and wellbeing related. The nutrition industry is booming with more and more people taking control over their health and wanting to make a difference to the quality of their lives. This is all great. This is exactly what needs to happen in order to reduce Australia’s staggering rates of preventable diseases. I mean seriously, you don’t need to be studying nutrition to know that our country’s food supply and consumption of ‘food like’ products is far from ideal. Crispy potato chips from a packet do not count as a vegetable and just because you use a microwave to heat up your store bought prepackaged dinner does not count as cooking. Just sayin’. 

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to study in the field that interests me the most and for all future possibilities that are ahead of me in my career. I love wellbeing, I really do. I have heard numerous times from people ‘I just want to study what I love’, ‘I just want to find my passion’ etc – I can honestly say that I have found mine. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

However. There is one element bothering me about the whole thing, well quite a huge element really. Information overload.

There is just so much information. So many opinions and ‘expert’ opinions for that matter (and when I say expert I’m referring to those 100k follower instagram fitspo accounts, celebrities and health bloggers that really should not be health bloggers – this is not an attack towards bloggers – there are just a few who really don’t know what they are talking about). So many fads. So much social media. So much confusion. So much comparison, guilt and basically just a whole lot of headaches. Do you get me?

In class the other day we had to debate the statement ‘ignorance is bliss’. I was on the ‘agreement’ side of the debate and one of the ideas that came up in my group was ‘When you really think about it, how much easier would life be if we just didn’t know about any of this food stuff’. We could eat what ever we wanted (within reason and probably still health orientated) and not have the slightest care factor for the foods nutritional breakdown within the body, kilojoule amount and chemical makeup. You see, you would probably be put in the ‘silly’ compartment if you weren’t able to admit that unhealthy food is bad for you however some people just chose to ignore this. They ignore this and they’re probably happy and food-stress free (obviously for the sake of this post, lets assume they are not suffering from any preventable illnesses such as diabetes or obesity..!). I’m sure many of you know someone, family or a friend maybe, that are aware of health and nutrition but don’t really ‘watch’ what they eat. Do they seem food-stress free to you? I think they do.

Now I am not saying this is a good thing. Of course we all need to be health conscious, eating a healthy and nutritious diet filled with an abundance of whole foods and take action to reduce our stress. But with all this misinformation, contradiction and comparison, how do we know what is right anymore? And how can we avoid the food-stress syndrome?

This is what is bothering me. But I am slowly learning how to tackle it. 

Recently as I’ve been scrolling through instagram, reading blog posts, watching documentaries, being in class at uni and reading health books, I’ve started to feel quite stressed and confused. There are literally so many opinions as to what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat that I am struggling to keep up. Paleo, vegan, raw vegan, fruitarian, ketone diet, high carb, bullet proof diet, intermediate fasting, blood-type dieting, macrobiotic diet and the list goes on.

I have to admit though, some of these have intrigued me, and still do.

For example, when I entered into my studies of nutrition I started to tune in to what was working well for my body and what wasn’t. I found that gluten wasn’t really working for me so I slowly made changes to eat gluten free alternatives. Buckwheat and quinoa became my favourites and are now my best buds. I also found dairy wasn’t really all that great for my belly so I stopped with it all together for a while and followed the ‘soy’ trend. Both of these changes lasted for quite some time in my life but after somewhat healing my gut (still in progress), changing where I buy my food and changing my attitude and educating myself on soy, I now eat full fat diary and some gluten grains such as sourdough, rye and oats but only organic, minimally processed and from a trusted source.

Another example, a couple of months ago Mel and I decided to jump on the paleo bandwagon to see what all the fuss was about. It’s focus being on eating a nutrient dense diet based on vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, nuts and oils and avoiding grains, dairy, legumes and soy (some also avoid nuts and starchy vegetables). This is the diet that apparently was adhered to in palaeolithic times, before the introduction of farming and agriculture in which grains and processing was introduced.This was the diet also eaten before the introduction of preventable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, obesity and even neurological problems. Sounds interesting right?! Well, it did to us anyway.

Despite the potential benefits of this diet (for some), our attempt at it lasted I’d say a week or two. Pathetic I know.

After that little stunt, we went back to eating unrefined gluten free grains and dairy to return back to a state of emotional balance. From this experience, I learnt that restriction doesn’t sit well with me. It creates unnecessary stress (for me) around food and kind of freaks me out.

A month or so after, Mel and I started gaining quite a bit of interest in sustainability, food wastage and basically eating what is best for the planet. I decided to watch the documentary ‘cow spiracy’ plus another one that I can’t remember the name of and I can actually say that I almost did a three-sixty and turned vegetarian. Vegan-ism crossed my mind for a split second but I just couldn’t handle the idea of giving up eggs. I was so traumatised from watching these documentaries that the thought of eating animal products didn’t seem right anymore. I really hit a road block and felt lost.

How could I give up animal products knowing the nutritional benefits behind them? (you see this is where ignorance can be bliss). Some of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet are largely found in animal products. Salmon, livers and bone broth to name a few. Not being able to ‘un-know’ what I know, I couldn’t just cut these foods out of my diet all together. It just wouldn’t make sense to me. I am studying nutritional medicine after all.

So. what did I do next?

I made a decision to continue eating animal products but only of the best quality I could possibly find. Organic, ethical, cruel free, antibiotic free and sustainable were the words that I searched for at the farmers market and whole food stores. Now I’d like to say that I had been eating organic and ethical meat for quite some time anyway so this wasn’t new to me – it just become even more important.

Despite the stress that I experienced from the continual moral debate I was having with myself, Mel didn’t feel this at all. She didn’t even watch the documentaries and just based on a feeling she felt after having a rather large steak plonked infront of her at a restaurant in Italy, she stopped eating meat. That was it. She said goodbye to sustainable caught fish, organic roast chicken and eye fillet. All of the sudden meat wasn’t just fuel anymore, it was an animal. An animal with feelings that she did not want to eat.

She is now a chickpea, lentil, quinoa and rye toast eating vego and she’s never looked back. We like to cook vegetarian meals together now and I love it!

Vegetarianism sits well with her and I am happy that she is following her gut and living a cruel free life.

I heavily value the nutritional component behind food so vegetarianism doesn’t sit well with me. And that’s okay. It’s all okay.

After my many attempts at following the current food trends, I have now decided to take everything like a pinch of salt (or is it ‘as a pinch of salt’ – who knows). I’ll read the article, watch the clip and read the blog post, but I won’t emotionally engage in it. I won’t let it consume me or let it make me feel guilty for my already highly nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle. Oh I also love yoga and walking. I don’t do cross-fit or run marathons. 

Instead of being all caught up in what diet to follow, I am now only really caught up in where my food comes from and how can I reduce my food wastage. I eat the best quality food I can find from markets and whole food stores. I also eat the whole apple, eat the tip of carrots, buy the less popular cuts of meat and I don’t peel anything.

This also means I eat full fat diary The cafe around the corner from my house uses organic milk. I also eat gluten from time to time I love organic rye sourdough toast with avocado and organic butter mmmm. I eat an abundance of vegetables starchy and non starch, nuts I buy them activated – expensive I know! But I don’t buy ‘superfoods’ so this is how I justify it to myself, oils coconut oil roasted veg are my favourite and olive oil just pretty much on everything, some fruits I love bananas, green apples and berries, dark raw chocolate, coffee and organic red wine I’m a shiraz girl. 

My point being, I have come to a place where I eat all food groups. I don’t follow fads. 

It’s the kind of lifestyle that is working for me right now. Wholefoods a plenty, my beloved daily coffee made with organic milk, red wine whenever I feel like it but only a glass or maybe two, organic chocolate and basically trying my hardest to reduce my food-stress.

I’m entering an industry that I love but also an industry that stresses me out. I have learnt however that this is okay, everything is always okay. You just have to do what works well for you and try your best to live the happiest, healthiest life that you possibly can.

Because we only have one life and who has time for food-stress syndrome?!

But please folks, eat your greens, choose your food carefully and be nice to the planet.

Sarah x

 

 

 

 

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Poached Salmon with Sautéed Greens

Poaching fish is easy peasy! Give this super simple recipe a go!

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Fish. What’s better than a perfectly cooked salmon (or any fish for that matter) with some sautéed greens for a beautiful dinner with your loved one? Um nothing tops that.

This is by far one of our go to meals a couple of times per week. When buying your fish try and opt for organic wild caught and for your vegetables try to shop at your local farmers market on a Saturday morning for local produce (so much fun!) or your nearest health food store for organic produce.

Enjoy kids!


Ingredients: Serves Two

2 organic wild caught salmon fillets

A fresh variety of organic  greens (kale, silver beet, rainbow chard, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini) Pick all or just a few, but try and make it fun!

1 tablespoon of organic ghee

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 organic avocado (optional)

Fresh organic parsley

1/2 organic lemon

Pepper and salt to taste


Before you start with the salmon, you need to get started on the vegetables!

Wash all your green vegetables thoroughly before roughly chopping into bite sized chunks then place them into a bowl and put aside for the mean time.


Poaching your salmon

  1. Place the two salmon fillets in a pot or large pan (with room for some water)
  2. Fill the pan with some filtered water, covering half of the fillets
  3. Drizzle with two tablespoons of EVOO
  4. Turn the pan onto a medium heat and poach (with the lid removed) for around 5-10 minutes. ** The time will depend on how large your fillets are and how well done you prefer your fish

Sautéing your greens

  1. In a pan, place in all your vegetables with a dash of filtered water. Bring to boil then turn down to medium heat and sauté for around 5-10 minutes
  2. Once ready, turn off the heat and mix through the ghee

Plating

  1. First gently place your vegetables down on the plates then top with your succulent poached salmon
  2. Slice some fresh avocado on the side
  3. Top with fresh parsley, pepper & salt and dress with lemon

 

E.A.T

Green Yoghurt with Sweet Raisons

Left over dutch carrot leaves make for the perfect chunky dip/mash/side to any meal or nourish bowl! Do not throw them away!



Ingredients (serves four as a side dish)

The hairy leaves/stalks from a bunch of organic dutch carrots (roughly chopped)

3-4 heaped table spoons of organic thick Greek yoghurt (we use five.am organic yoghurt)

3 heaped tablespoons of organic raisons (roughly cut them in half)

Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

1 pinch of himalayan salt

Half a lemon (optional)


All you need to do once you have chopped your carrot leaves and raisons is add all the ingredients together and mix thoroughly. If there is not enough yoghurt then simply add some more! You can really play around with this recipe, even adding some walnuts or toasted seeds. Just have fun with it!

You can see in the image below that we used ours in roasted root vegetable nourish bowls

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Crispy Skin Salmon with a Radish and Parmesan Salad

Spring Dinner Idea

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Ingredients 

As we always say, try and opt for as much organic produce as possible!

2 Salmon fillets

2-3 Radish heads plus leaves

Parmesan (we use Organic Dairy Farmers parmesan)

3 Parsnips (make sure they are small, if you can only find large parsnips then you only need one)

2 Carrots (medium)

Fresh Parsley (a few stems plus leaves)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (2 tbsp)

Coconut Oil (1 tsp)

Pepper

Himalayan Salt

*We also added some ByronBay sauerkraut. The Tasmanian seaweed flavour goes quite well with this dish!


Method

Preheat the oven to 180 d/c

Meanwhile, wash your vegetables thoroughly. Slice through the parsnips and carrots length ways. We did this by slicing the parsnips in half, then in quarters. We had small parsnips therefore our long pieces were relatively fine

Repeat with the carrots. If your carrots are rather long, chop in half horizontally first then slice down length ways

On a tray, place your vegetables and 1 tbsp of olive oil, pepper, and salt and give them a good mix. Place them in the oven for around 25 minutes (this will vary depending on how thick your vegetables pieces are)

Wash your radish, then cut off the leaves. Finely chop the leaves with the parsley creating a green salad. Then slice through your radish making fine circles. Grab a peeler, and peel fine strips off the parmesan. Once you have these three components done, you can gently mix them all together in a small bowl with the remainder of olive oil

Check on the parsnip and carrots, if you can easily place a knife through them you know they’re nearly done. This gives you the all clear to start your salmon. On a fry pan add one teaspoon of coconut oil and wait until pan is hot. Then place your salmon fillets with skin side down. Salmon generally takes around 5 minutes on each side. However this will depend on the thickness of your salmon and how cooked you prefer it

Once ready, take out the vegetables from the oven, and place on two plates or on a sharing board. Repeat this with your radish salad

Bring the salmons to the table and voila you have yourself a nourishing meal to share with your loved one! (or ones)


Spring Salad Series #6

Olive Oil Spelt Penne with Sautéed Greens 


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Who doesn’t love pasta? (no one…)

Spelt pasta teamed with organic greens and olive oil go perfectly together. This dish is super simple and takes only a few minutes to prepare, ideal for a mid week lunch or dinner

* Due to our gluten intolerance we tend to opt for spelt or buckwheat pasta as our bellies can tolerate these grains a lot better


Ingredients

Organic Spelt Penne (enough to serve two)

One small organic broccoli head

Three large organic leaves of silver beet

Half a cup of frozen organic garden peas

One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

Pepper (to taste)

Himalayan salt (to taste)

Fresh organic parsley (to garnish)

One heaped teaspoon of nutritional yeast


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Method

Put on a put of water with some himalayan salt and bring to a boil

Once boiling add the pasta, we usually cook our pasta for around 10 minutes however this will vary on the type of pasta and how cooked you like your pasta to be. We prefer it more on the al dente side!

Meanwhile, break the broccoli head and finely chop the silver beet leaves. In a large wok add these vegetables and the garden peas with a dash of water. Sauté for around 3 minutes, our until the frozen peas are no longer frozen

Once the pasta is ready, drain out the water and put the pasta back into the pot. Add the olive oil, pepper, salt and nutritional yeast and mix all together. Then you can add the vegetables and give it another good mix

Separate into two bowls and top with parsley. It really is as easy as that kids! A simple, satisfying and beautiful dish that can be enjoyed at any time of the day

Now were off to enjoy this spring sunshine, Ciao!

Spring Salad Series #5

SPRING SALAD SERIES

Roasted Vegetables and Poached Chicken on a bed of herbs and Kamala Olives

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This salad is pretty simple but it incorporates basically all of our favourite foods so we’re pretty excited to share it with you guys! Who doesn’t love garlic-y roasted veggies, tender poached chicken, herbs, avocado, olives and olive oil?! We absolutely love all of these ingredients and make a version of this salad often at home. Grilled salmon or finely sliced lamb backstrap or even a nice eye fillet steak goes wonderfully.

It’s one of our staple dishes so make it with love and enjoy with close friends and family

Ingredients Opt for organic ingredients if possible

– 2 small to medium potatoes

– 1 fennel bulb

– 2 to 4 carrots

– 1 beetroot

– 1 leek

– 3 cups of finely chopped herbs and greens of choice. We used parsley, fennel leaves, rosemary, chives and spinach 

– 10 pitted Kamala Olives

– 2 organic chicken breasts

– Half an avocado

– 2 tbsp of Olive oil (the the dressing and for the roasting)

– 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar

– 1 teaspoon of cumin

– Himalayan salt

– Pepper

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Method

1. Set your oven to about 175 degrees Celsius.

2. Cup on all your root veggies into generous sized chunks. Scatter onto an oven tray and drizzle with olive oil, himalayan salt, pepper and cumin. We also added a few  rosemary sprigs, a few a couple of cloves of garlic (leave the outer skin on) and some thyme from the garden.

3. Once oven is ready, place your veggies in. They will take about half an hour to get nicely roasted and golden. Thats you’re prep for your roasted veggies done, now you can work on your greens. You really can use any herbs that you may have on hand for this salad. We have heaps of parsley, chives, fennel leaves, spinach and rosemary so we roughly cut them all up and scattered them onto two plates.

4. As your veggies are roasting, bring a saucepan of water to the boil. As you are waiting for the water to boil, slice your two chicken breasts into about 2 centimetre pieces. You should be able to cut about 4 to 5 pieces per breast.

5. When the water is boiling, add your chicken. The pieces will be readily poached when they sort of start to float to the top. Around 5 to 10 minutes (its a bit of a guessing game to be honest! so keep checking them – you don’t want to ‘over poach’ them as that will make them dry and chewy!)

6. Your veggies and chicken should be done around the same time. Distribute the veggies evenly onto the two plates (with the already made greens) and top with your nicely poached chicken.

7. Now for the finishing touches. Add around 5 olives to each plate, plus a quarter of an avocado. We like to create an ‘avo slide’ by finely slicing the avocado and melding it into the shape of a ‘slide’ Refer to the photos

8. We keep our salad dressings simple with just olive oil, apple cider vinegar, himalayan salt and pepper.

9. Eat

M + S xx

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Spring Salad Series #3

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It’s the middle of the week which means it’s Spring Salad time!

After a morning spent watching the french news, eating a version of our famous breaky boards and swimming laps at our local pool, we came home and made a ‘Herb Salad Party’. We call this a party as we literally added so many herbs from our garden! Well only parsley and mint were actually invited…

Anyway, in went these herb babies with the rest of our ingredients and the end result tasted like sunshine and gardens.

So good, so spring.

Oh and we leave for Europe in 10 weeks and we are so damn excited. 

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Ingredients 

Serves two hungry twins after a swim

-1 small organic avocado

– 1 cup of peas

– 1 cup of cooked quinoa (we cook up a big batch at the beginning of the week and store in the fridge for quick and easy lunches)

– 2 cups of shredded spinach

– 1/2 a cup of finely chopped mint (and a few extra whole leaves for garnishing)

– 1/2 a cup of finely chopped parsely

– 1 can of organic sustainably caught mackerel in olive oil

– 1/3 cup of fresh blueberries

– Himalayan Salt to taste

– Pepper to taste

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Method

1. Heat up the quinoa and peas either in a saucepan with a dash of water or in a microwave if you’re short for time. Again, as mentioned in the ingredients – we pre-cook our quinoa.

2. As the quinoa is heating up, start finely chopping your spinach, mint and parsley. Also, slice your avocado into small cubes.

3. Add the greens and the avocado to the warm quinoa and pea mix. Thoroughly mix with your hands and evenly distribute onto two plates.

4. Now for the toppings! Add half the can of mackerel to each dish and drizzle the oil evenly between the two. Finish with topping with the freshest and plumpest blueberries you can find!

5. Garnish with the last couple of mint leaves and a tad of pepper and himalayan salt.

All done, ready to gobble up.