1 Month Without Coffee

Getting the Shivers

I don’t consider myself as a big coffee drinker. However, since I started working full time I’ve been having 1-2 coffees every day during the work week and maybe one during the weekend. I found that I would have slight shivers and a rather high pulse by the end of the workday. I also felt my skin getting very dry, particularly in my face. Moreover, felt that I was becoming more and more dependent on coffee to kick start my system in the morning and afternoon. Furthermore, my quality of sleep seemed somewhat reduced, but I didn’t think much into it. After all, everyone drinks coffee, right?

coffee4Before the Christmas holidays, one of my colleagues stopped his intake of caffeine for a bit. He would normally have 6-7 cups of coffee and a bottle or two of Pepsi Max per day. When he suddenly stopped feeding himself all the caffeine he claimed that he started having bad head aches, nausea and felt irritable. After staying away from it for a while he said the head aches and nausea faded away and his mood went back to normal. He also said he had better sleeps at night.

Hearing this, I thought I might try and hold off from coffee for a month and see if I could escape the shivers, high pulse and dryness at the end of my workdays. The first week I was really caving a big cup of coffee when getting in to work. I also felt very tired throughout the day. However, it slowly wore off, and by the second week I didn’t really think about coffee that much. Interestingly, I also felt that I had more restful sleeps every night.

Other Side Effects of Coffee

Most people have a lifestyle and diet that makes the body very acidic. With high levels of stress, the brain creates adrenaline and other chemicals that produce an acidic environment in the body. Unfortunately, the Western diet mainly consists of food and drinks that creates high acidic levels in the body. With a high intake of foods containing sugar, dairy, wheat, deep fried and other Fast foods, and then flushing it down with soft drinks, coffee or alcohol,  the pH levels develops way too far into the acidic side of the scale. As my main focus in this article is coffee, I will stick to the effect of this popular drink – I will be writing a post on the balance of alkaline and acidic levls in the body shortly, so stay tuned.

Coffee can result in:

  • More acidic body (leading to more inflammation)
  • Restless sleep
  • Leach precious minerals from our systems
  • Shivers and high pulse
  • Dehydrating the body
  • Caffeine dependence
  • Bad breath
  • Discoloring of the teeth

Alternatives to Coffee

coffee3I found that being in an office working in front of a computer the whole day makes you want to have little treats quite frequently – simply because it is stagnant work. I tend to want a snack or a drink because I’m actually a bit bored and want a distraction. Coffee is the most common drink to have, and makes you feel more awake and focused at the same time. However, as mentioned; after a while off the caffeine I didn’t reach the same levels of tiredness throughout the day. I found that drinking various types of tea (my favorites are green tea, chamomile tea and chai tea with organic soy milk), coffee alternatives such as Bambu Coffee Substitute (picture), and even water was just as good.

I found that reaching for the coffee is all a habit. When the body is dehydrated by 2% of normal levels, we can perform up to 20% poorer (read more about this in “Water“), so just by restoring those levels we automatically regain energy to continue on.

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Results & Discoveries

As mentioned, during the month that I didn’t drink coffee I had no shivers or high pulse when leaving work. Neither did my face feel dry. Importantly, I also fell asleep faster and had better quality sleeps every night. Another side effect of this experiment that I did not expect was the feeling of cleanness. I actually felt that my body was somewhat more pure. I don’t know whether this was because of the acidity of my body going down or as a result of better sleep or even the absence of coffee itself. Either way it felt great! As much as I appreciate the taste, smell and feeling of coffee, I’ll be aiming at having it only occasionally and fully enjoy that treat.

Below is my first coffee after a month off; can’t remember last time I enjoyed it this much! ★

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Resources

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002445.htm

Right Motivation, Left Satisfied

The Beginning

Four years ago I spontaneously signed up for Run for a Reason, a 14 km run for charity. As I registered three days before the race took place I didn’t have much time to train for it. Furthermore, I had never ran more than 6 km in one go. I have done a lot of long distance cross country skiing, but long distance runs (read: more than 5km) were rather rare. I’m quite competitive towards myself and absolutely hammered my body during the event. I did the 14 kilometres in 1 hour and 10 minutes, and told myself I would never do that race again. The fright only lasted until the soreness of my muscles disappeared a few days after the run. It turned into a desire to pick up long distance running when I discovered the Nike+ app. This was the beginning of running being a big part of my everyday life.

In 2012 I did the HBF Run for a Reason again and raised money for Cystic Fibrosis. Again I ran it in 1 hour and 10 minutes, and again I was wondering why I would put myself through the pain of it. I found strength in thinking of all the people suffering from CF and how strong they are to cope with their condition every day.

Milestone Reached Today

Today I reached 1,000 km on my Nike+ GPS app! So I’m giving myself a big tap on the shoulder and celebrating with a massive green smoothie. Well, I suppose I’ve done more kilometers as I have travelled and used other phones when going for runs. But these are my first recorded 1000 kilometers.  I have developed a great appreciation for running and try and go for 4-5 runs per week. It is like meditation to me. I clear my head of all stress generated throughout the day and enjoy having quality me-time. If I’m ever angry or upset I’d go for a run, and by the time I’ve done the first 3km I have generally changed my mindset and come up with a solution. I don’t even feel that I’m running – its like my legs are on autopilot and my mind is unleashed and flies off wherever it desires to. This is also my most creative time. I enjoy painting, creating things as well as developing business ideas, and I always get my best insights when I’m out running.

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Retired: Mr Right Motivation and Miss Left Satisfied

I have to admit I feel extra encouraged to go for a run when I’ve got nice and colourful apparel. My shoes, Mr Right Motivation and Miss Left Satisfied, have served me well in that respect.  However, after more than 1,000 km around the world in all kinds of weather and conditions it’s time to trade them in for a pair of newies. I’m so grateful for getting into running and encourage everyone to give it a chance! Even if you start with short distances and keep a slow pace – something is far better than nothing! ★

I’m so thankful for all the great times I’ve had out running, and can’t wait to hit up the 2,000 km mark!

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Vitiligo Cure

I found a vitiligo cure and I hope I’ll reach as many people with the condition as possible before their skin condition develops too far. I can’t say it is the cure for it, but I’ve had a good experience with it and my skin went back to normal after 6 months of taking the supplement.

White Dots and Patches on the Skin

When I was around 16 I started noticing white spots on my skin. I get quite tan so they were rather prominent, and I started getting a bit concerned about what this was. My mum suggested it might be Vitiligo, which my doctor could confirm. He said there wasn’t any real cure for the condition, but proscribed a cream to apply to the affected areas. However, it didn’t seem to make a difference.

vitiligoWhat is Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a disorder where white patches appear on the skin. The reason for this is that the cells making pigment (color) in the skin are destroyed. These cells are called melanocytes. Vitiligo can also affect the mucous membranes (such as the tissue inside the mouth and nose) and the eye. White patches on the skin are the main sign of this condition. The patches can appear anywhere on the body and can often result in hair that turns gray or white early.

About 0.5 to 1 percent of the world’s population have vitiligo, and most people with the condition develop it before the age of 40. The disorder affects all races and both sexes equally.

Vitiligo Cure

Mum then got me an appointment with a naturopath. The practitioner told me that there was a supplement called bromelain that had shown good results in the treatment of Viteligo.  Bromelain is a general name for a family of sulfhydryl-containing proteolytic enzymes obtained from the pineapple plant. Bromelain has healing properties such as interactions with inflammatory, immune, cell signaling, and coagulation moleculesand pathways. Bromelain also appears to have effects on cell surface antigens. Furthermore, bromelain is considered to have very low toxicity. Bromelain has significant positive effects in terms of

  • anti-inflammatory
  • wound healing
  • injury healing
  • blood thinner
  • antibiotic
  • protects against diarrhea
  • anti-cancer activity
  • antimicrobial
  • good for circulation
  • cardiovascular and angina
  • prostatitis
  • arthritis
  • digestion
  • renal
  • kidney
  • sinusitis

As shown above, bromelain has several health benefits. However, in regards to the Vitiligo it is important to take the supplement as advised over a longer period of time. The body is assisted in healing itself, and the natural process takes longer as it doesn’t just fix the symptoms but heals the underlying cause. For me it took just over 6 months before they were disappearing. I had another breakout about two years after that, but as I started taking bromelain again it vanished. Now, another 5 years later it has come back, so I have just started taking the supplement again. According to the naturopath it is just a deficiency I have that needs assistance every now and then. There is no need to constantly keep taking it, but rather get on it whenever the symptoms reappear. The practitioner also said that there are better chances of getting rid of the white patches if it’s in the early stages.

There are two reasons for disease; deficiency and toxicity – Charlotte Gerson

I really hope this can assist people out there in getting rid of their white patches. You can find more information on the topic under ‘Resources’ below if you are interested in this. Please leave a comment if you’ve had good experiences with other types of treatments!  ★

Please read the disclaimer here.

How to Get Rid of Vitiligo with Bromelain

Resources

http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Vitiligo/vitiligo_ff.asp

http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Vitiligo/vitiligo_ff.asp

http://www.chiro.org/alt_med_abstracts/ABSTRACTS/Bromelain_Monograph.pdf

My Morning Routine

Lemon Water & Snack

I like the mornings. It’s like the night has cleaned the air and left it fresh for a new day. A good morning makes such a big difference for the rest of the day – for me anyway. I start by having a glass of lemon water and a little snack like berries or figs before heading to work. Lemon is a great kick start of the day as it alkalises your body. I usually go 1/2 lemon in two glasses of water – one for me and one for my man. Lemon water helps breaking the fast-mode that your body went into while you were asleep. For those who didn’t know, breakfast comes from “braking the fast” – makes sense:)

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Walk the Walk

Although I have a car, I try to catch the train most days – for several reasons. One of the reasons is of course that it’s better for the environment. But also because I really enjoy a walk in the morning. Going from the train station to where I work gives me a solid 20 minutes walk. In that time I get to wake up, think about what I want to achieve for the day and simply enjoy just breathing in the fresh air. I’m very lucky to be working close to the ocean and get to smell the salt water every day.

Smoothie Time

When I get to work it’s time for a big smoothie full of nutrients and goodness. I normally put pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut and chia seeds in together with chunks of fruit like banana and strawberry so that I have something to chew on. For some reason I don’t feel that it fills me up properly when I don’t chew – it’s more of a meal if I don’t just drink it. I’ll be uploading some smoothie recipes soon, so hopefully that will give you some inspiration for a healthy start to your day!

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What is your morning routine?

Happy Halloween! Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Every year, 31st October, carved pumpkins are put out on porches and doorsteps in the United States, but also other parts of the world. The practice of decorating “jack-o’-lanterns” originated in Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes served as an early canvas. The name comes from an Irish folktale about a man called Stingy Jack. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween tradition.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a low-calorie (26kcal per 100g), low-fat vegetable, and contains 91.6% water (raw). It is also a great source of Vitamin A (8513 IU per 100g).

Pumpkin Coconut Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 can coconut milk (400 ml)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 cups peeled and diced pumpkin
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 small red chili, diced
  • Chopped stalks from a bunch of fresh coriander (about 2 tbsp, perfect for using up those tasty bits)
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder)
  • Some lemongrass
  • 2 large garlic clove, chopped
  • Peel from half of fresh lime
  • Juice from half of fresh lime

Instructions

  1. Put the oven on 200C. Cut a lid off the pumpkin and carve out the seeds. Fill the pumpkin with 3 tbsp of water and put the lid over. Roast the pumpkin seeds at the same time. Leave in the oven for 20 minutes until the pumpkin is soft enough to dig out the meat.
  2. Sautee onion, chili, coriander stalks, galangal and turmeric in coconut oil for a couple of minutes. Add pumpkin, garlic, lime peel, water and coconut milk and bring to boil. Simmer on low heat for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Transfer the rest of the mixture to a food processor or a blender. Puree until smooth, then add coconut cream and lime juice. Blend until incorporated. You can use a hand-held blender/soup mixer as well. Serve with fresh coriander leaves on top.

Preparation time: 10 minutes, cooking time: 15 minutes, number of servings: 4

Enjoy!   . ★

Resources

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3188?fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=&qlookup=pumpkin

http://www.history.com/topics/jack-olantern-history

John Eales Medal 2013

Preparations

Arriving in Sydney at 6:00am and realizing there were no dry cleaners able to sort out a suit by 4:00pm was a rather stressful start to the day. Luckily I remembered from my retail days that we always had to steam the clothing we received before placing them on the racks. We ended up finding someone kind enough to battle the creases for us. After that we chilled out at the beach for most of the day before getting back to the hotel to get dressed. I think the other girls were way more organized than me in getting ready. I used an old dress, did my own hair and didn’t even have time to fix my nails, hopefully no one noticed.

Gold Carpet & Media

As we entered the function we had to walk up the gold carpet. Nick had already told me what to say if they asked who I thought would win the John Eales Medal (as this was what I was asked last year). It didn’t quite go that way. The interviewer asked “Did you feel that the invitation to the John Eales Medal was something you simply could not turn down?” “Err…I don’t know anything about rugby, but I thought I’d do my best”, I managed to squeeze out. It would probably have been better if I said something along the lines of: “I’m from the Northern hemisphere, more accurately a few clicks from the North Pole, and don’t think I understand how big this is. But I’m very honored to be here”. Oh well,better luck next time haha. Luckily they didn’t include my answer on national TV.

The Dinner

After the somewhat awkward experience entering the function, Nick and I went inside to be seated. We were served delicious crab and caviar for starters. However, Nick managed to dip his tie in the crab meat and I launched my fork with black caviar into my lap (note: white dress) first thing sitting down. Can’t take us anywhere… I tried to not do too many clumsy stunts as most of the dinner was broadcasted live. Nick didn’t seem to care a great deal, but was rather focusing on getting as much food as possible while listening to the speeches.

The food was fantastic. The main, hereford beef tenderloin with chive-spiced goats curd mousseline, truffle potato galette and root vegetables looked very nice. However, I went for the vegetarian option as I’m not a huge fan of red meat. It was an asparagus, green pea and mint risotto with lemon mascarpone. The dessert was also really tasty; chocolate tart with raspberry cream, lemon meringue pie with raspberries, apple and sultana crumble square and vanilla & mango brulée. I tried all the different bits, so good! Nick also cleaned up, but in spite of having a starter, main and dessert, he still remained hungry.

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Despite a few awkward moments, and me not knowing half of what the speeches were about, the night was really good, with awesome food and nice people  ★

Big Day of Fundraising

Two Fundraising Events in One Day

On Friday, Loud Shirt Day Australia encouraged people to wear colourful shirts to raise money and awareness for deaf children. On the same day, Candi’s Girls Night Out fundraiser was on. This was for a girl, who tragically fell off a balcony some years ago, and whose life will never be normal again. Her family arranged an amazing event to raise money towards her treatments.

Loud Shirt Day

Loud Shirt Day is an annual event where organizations and businesses can register  to take part in raising money for deaf children in the country. My workplace took part of this and made a contribution to the cause. The ladies arranged a morning tea and I brought wholemeal Focaccia Bread – as my green smoothies and raw food probably wouldn’t go down too well (will upload recipe for the bread soon). We were dressed up in our brightest clothing and at the end of the day  the winner of the loudest shirt was announced.

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Candi’s Fundraiser

The Girl’s Night Out was really well organized and a great success.  The event was arranged to raise money for Candi’s treatments. Her family is aiming for a holistic approach and arranging for her to take part in three programs; for her brain, her heart and her body. For her head, she will begin treatment at “The Institute of Functional Neuroscience”, for her heart she will get treatment from “The Remede Centre”, and “Walk On” will provide treatment for her body.

Girl’s Night Out

We received bubbles upon arrival by some rugby players that were our waiters for the evening. Candi’s sister and mother held a speech and told Candi’s story before the food was being served. They had arranged a silent auction where you could put your name down for personal training, super foods, skin care and lots of other awesome stuff. My friend actually won 3 of the packages only to realize that adding them up got rather expensive. At least it was for a good cause. A draw for a diamond necklace worth $5,000 was also arranged. When we left we received a goodie bag full of little treats.

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Big Day

After a whole day of fundraising I was ready to go home and get some sleep. Candi’s fundraiser only lasted until 9pm, but I as absolutely shot to bits by the end of it.

If you are interested in any of the events, I have posted Loud Shirt Day’s website below, and will try and find the blog to follow Candi’s treatments. If you have any questions, please leave a comment! ★

Website

http://loudshirtday.com.au/

Subi Markets

Weekend Activities

One of the weekend activities I really enjoy is to go to local fruit and veg markets and stock up for the following week. I can spend hours and hours on end buying fresh food, discover new spices and enjoying meals in the food court. Subiaco Markets (close to the railway station) is a great place to get fresh produce. It’s one of Perth’s largest undercover markets and has a wide variety of foods and other goods & services to offer.

Early Bird

If you want to avoid lots of people, you’ll have to be there byt 7:00am. It already starts to get busy around 7:30am! There are several fruit and vegetable shops in the market, but it also has juice stands, flower shops, fresh food outlets such as fish, butcher, bakeries, patisserie, whole foods, health foods and also a café & food court area. You can also find a large range of jewellery clothing and gift shops, plus beauty services including hairstylists and massage therapies.

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Many Markets

Perth has a lot of markets spread around the city. Another great market is the old Fremantle markets, which has a lot of history. There are also several farmer markets that are held at local schools over the weekends. Mt Claremont Farmers market and Subiaco Farmers market are worth checking out! ★

After-Work Run in the Park

Calming, Cleansing & Revitalizing

It’s something about a run in the park after a long and stressful day at work. The sound of birds, smell of the grass and fresh leafs, and a gentle breeze on the skin. Green has a calming effect on us, which makes the park an excellent place to recover from a day of stress.

I’m lucky to be surrounded by several great parks, and try to go for walks, runs and fitness sessions as often as I can. Also, I don’t have a gym membership as I enjoy exercising outdoors no matter what the weather gets up to. Dropping into a gym for a class or to use some of the equipment is good for changing it up. However, the park is a great place to take some weights and boxing equipment for a session.

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park

Before I came to Australia, I didn’t know that black swans even excised, but here I see them quite often. They’re beautiful things, but not by any means less aggressive than the white ones. I enjoy the wildlife in parks and always take time to stop and look if something catches my attention. After a workout and a round of stretching it’s nice to sit down to breathe and absorb the goodness. Tomorrow’s stress and concerns will come soon enough, so better appreciate the peace while I can   ★

Almond milk

I was asked earlier this week what was better for you; skimmed cow milk or soy milk. I thought more people might have the same question, so I figured I’d write it out in my blog:

What type of milk is best for you?

As a general rule of thumb, the less processed the better for you. When products are very processed they normally have less nutrients and often more chemicals (less natural). I believe a small glass of full cream milk is better than a big glass of skimmed milk. However, the milk from the cow is meant for the calves and contains a lot of hormones that may not be good for humans. Also, cows often eat food that contains chemicals that could be harmful to us. Personally I try to stay away from dairy all together and chose other alternatives. People often think you lose out on calcium if you don’t drink cow milk. There are a lot of foods that are high in this nutrient – such as poppy seeds (see Calcium). Also, if you go out in the sun and get some Vitamin D your body is able to absorb more of the calcium you provide it with!

In regards to soy, it is one of the most gene manipulated (GMO) foods out there. I therefore only chose organic soy products. Although most cafés only provide cow milk or soy milk (an not always organic), you can purchase several alternative types of milk in the grocery stores, such as:

  • Almond milk
  • Oat milk
  • Rice milk
  • Quinoa milk

My favorites are almond and oat milk.

One thing to look out for when buying these products are the sugar content. Some of them contains quite a bit, so just read the label. Otherwise you can MYO (make your own). I often make almond milk and change it up by using different ingredients to add some sweetness to the milk.  Depending on how rich you want it to taste, you can increase amount of almonds per liter of water. You can also chose other sweetening ingredients instead of the coconut like I’ve used this time. Some examples are vanilla extract, honey, agave syrup, cinnamon or stevia.

Almond Milk Recipe

  • 1.5 cup almonds
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut

Soak the almonds for 1-2 hrs, rinse and put them in the blender with the water and vanilla extract. Mix for approximately 30 seconds. A good tip is to only put some of the water in first and mix it so that it almost turns into almond porridge. This will help the almonds to be chopped finer. Moreover, if your blender has a pulse function, this also helps cutting it into finer pieces. Pour the remaining water in and mix for 15 sec.

Filter the milk though a nut bag (can be found in most health stores) and the milk is ready to drink. You can use the pulp to make almond flour. Simply spread it out on a tray and put it in the oven for 20 min on low temperature. This is great to use in baking but also in cooking other food (e.g, when making vegetarian burger patties).

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Uses of almond milk

Almond milk tastes great in coffee, tea (especially in Chai tea) and in hot chocolate. It is good to use in baking as well.