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

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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Broccoli and Pea Puree

WINTER WARMER SERIES

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We have one month off uni and boy have we hit holiday mode.

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Quick 5am workouts at home before a quick breakfast and then quickly out the door to quickly get to uni by 8 am is thankfully behind us, for one month at least. Our mornings now consist of a slightly longer sleep in, a longer yoga session or workout and a slower, more relaxing breakfast.

We don’t only have more time for relaxing mornings, now we can also cook a wholesome lunch at home. Look, this may not seem all that exciting for some but for uni students who have spent three months eating packed quinoa salads out of glass containers, home lunches are kind of a big deal.

Today for lunch we opted for our usual of quinoa, spinach, roasted root vegetables and poached chicken. However seeing as today was a ‘home lunch’ (yes!), we whipped up a broccoli and pea puree to dollop on top.

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This green puree is so versatile. You can have it as a side to meal like how we’ve done today, you can smear it on paleo toast, have it as a snack mixed with a handful of nuts or eat it as a soup by adding a little more bone broth. Options are endless!

Ingredients

– 2 heads of broccoli

– The stalks of one bunch of kale

– 1 leek

– 1 cup of frozen peas

– 2-3 cups of beef or chicken bone broth. we used homemade 48hr beef broth.

– 1/2 small onion

– 2 cloves of crushed garlic

– 1 tsp of cumin

– 1 bay leaf

– 1 tsp of turmeric

– 1/2 teaspoon of himalayan salt

– Pepper to taste

– 1/2 – 1 tbsp of coconut oil (for sautéing leek)

Method

1. Heat coconut oil in a pan. Once warm, sauté the onion and garlic until tender.

2. Dice the leek and add to the pan. Stir through for a few minutes, then add the spices and a dash of water.

3. Saute until leek is tender.

4. Add the broccoli, peas and kale stalks and thoroughly mix with the leek for a few minutes.

5. Add your broth, salt, pepper and bay leaf and bring to a gentle boil (basically simmer)

6. Lower the heat and cover for about 20 minutes)

7. Once the kale stalks are tender-ish, remove the puree from the pot and add to a blender. Pulse on high until smooth.

8. Serve!

M + S x

Zucchini Paleo Loaf

Paleo Loaf, what a complete fluke.

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We’d spent the morning pottering around the kitchen, listening to Bon Iver and searching our favourite blogs for some breakfast loaf inspiration. A popular theme that we came across was Paleo Loaf. Paleo baking is definitely ‘in’ at the moment.

Now, we’re not the type to lean towards a particular diet label (i.e. paleo, vegan, vegetarian, high carb etc), but we are gluten intolerant so paleo bread is actually quite suited to our sensitive stomaches. Being paleo, it has no flour, almond meal is the substitute. This loaf is not only gluten free, it is also dairy free, sugar free and high in protein! The eggs give it the protein punch, sorry vegans!

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Anyway, here is the recipe that has been adapted from Brown Paper Bag‘s zucchini loaf and Luke Hine’s Paleo Bread.

Ingredients

—-Dry ingredients—-

– 2 cups of almond meal

– 1 tbsp of psyllium husk powder (optional)

– 2 tbsp of pepita seeds (plus more for topping)

– 2 tbsp of sunflower seeds

– 1/2 tsp of himalayan salt

– 1 tsp of baking powder

—-Wet ingredients—-

-3 eggs

– 1 chia egg ( 1 tbsp of chia seeds mixed in 3 tbsp of water and let sit)

– 1 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil

– 2 medium zucchinis  – should equal 2 cups once grated

Method

1. Set the oven at 180 degree Celsius

2. Line a tin loaf with baking paper.

3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl

4. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, chia egg and melted coconut oil.

5. Grate the zucchinis and squeeze out the excess water.

6. Combine the zucchini with the other wet ingredients and mix throughly

7. Fold through the zucchini mixture with the dry ingredients. Make sure you fold the mixture rather than aggressively stirring it. You want to keep it light and airy.

8. Spoon into the tin, reaching all edges and evenly spreading out the top. Sprinkle with the excess of pepita seeds.

9. Bake in oven for 1 hour or until golden on top.

10. Once golden, remove from oven and let it sit in the tin till it cools. Vital step!

11. EAT

M + S x

Winter Sweet Potato and Sardine Salad

WINTER SALAD SERIES

Oven baked Sweet Potato on a bed of sautéed Brussel sprouts and Sustainable Sardines. Topped with sunflower seed pesto, black olives, goats feta and fresh parsley

Much of our inspiration behind our cooking is from Jacqueline Alwill and her ‘Brown Paper Bag Blog’. Her beautifully presented meals and recipes have an abundance of nutrients, incorporating all major food groups. She includes red and white meat, cheese and eggs within her recipes, demonstrating a balanced and sensible approach to wellness. We very much admire her cooking and frequently check her blog for updates – the recipe for the pesto that we’re about to post is adapted from her page.

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Ingredients: Serves two as a main

-1/2 a small to medium sweet potato. Finely sliced lengthways

– 2 cups of brussel sprouts. Cut in half

– 1/4 cup of green peas (we use organic frozen)

– 1 tin of sustainable sardines in olive oil

– 1/4 goats feta

– 1/2 cup of black olives

– 1/4-1/3 cup of Pesto (Click here for Brown Paper Bag recipe)

– Fresh Parsley

-Pepper to taste

– Himalayan salt to taste

Method

This recipe is very basic! It’ll take you around 20 minutes to prepare so very convenient for a mid week meal 

1. Place your finely sliced sweet potato on a tray. Brush with a tad of olive oil, salt and pepper. Back in oven set at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes.

2. Whilst sweet potato is in the oven, sauté your brussel sprouts and peas in a wok on high heat in a bit of coconut oil (or water). Keep sautéing till the brussels begin to soften and possibly turn a little brown at the edges. Once ready mix through the black olives and  evenly distribute onto two plates.

3. The sweet potato should be ready now, remove from oven and delicately layer onto the greens.

4. With your tinned sardines, evenly halve and coarsely break over the potato.

5. Top with the pesto, goats feta and fresh parsley

6. A dash of olive oil and you’re good to go!

Sunday lunchin’ at the Fabulous Feast of Merit

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After having quite a miserable saturday, our weekend was definitely not off to a great start… In an attempt to lighten our dull moods today we treated ourselves to a lovely lunch at Richmond’s fabulous Feast of Merit. Boy were we overwhelmed!

Where to even begin…

We should start by acknowledging their philosophy:

‘..Being local, ethical and sustainable is part of what drives our philosophy. Feast of Merit is a social enterprise owned and run by YGAP. All of our profits help make the world a better place… Consider our food as Middle Eastern spring meets Melbourne… We deliver this with our farm to table philosophy.’

Keeping this in mind we could immediately see their approach to food through their menu options. With their menu evidently being all about providing food that is sustainable and wholesome.

Without a question we were drawn to their selection of hearty salads and choice of added protein (milawa chicken, BBQ fish or beef)

Opting for milawa chicken with a roasted root vegetable salad, we were quite literally blown away and unable to find the worlds to describe the explosion of intense flavours that made us feel so good inside.

Despite our temptations to devour Feast’s jugs of sangria, we finished our meal off with a rich long black. Just d i v i n e.

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This meal took us back to that one time in Berlin where we came across a beautiful cafe called Oliv. We enjoyed the most amazing feed of our trip, that being a chicken leg accompanied with a chickpea and feta salad. Delish!

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Anyway, about five hours ago when we were actually sitting at their wooden tables, sipping coffee out of their ceramic cups.. We were attempting to find the right words that would paint a picture of the setting for you all. So when it comes to their interior, we’ve decided that it simply reminds us of a rustic farm house.

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Keeping this short and super sweet, we would like to just say that this cafe is truly  i n s p i r a t i o n a l and all for a good cause. Definitely check out Feast of Merit. It is every cafe junkies heaven.

M + S

xo