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Three Meal Prep Freezer Hacks

Lizzy Marsh

Simple and effective. Two of my favourite words in the same sentence! I thought I'd jump on today and share with you some of my top meal-prepping tips, as I often get asked about the ah-ha moments that I've had in the kitchen. Of course, there are many - but here are three short, simple and effective tips that I use regularly and that involve using the trusty freezer!

1. WASH, CHOP and FREEZE

As soon as I arrive home from the market, I spread all the delicious fruit and veggies out on my bench. Depending on the plan for the week, I divide them into those needed for smoothies/juices and those needed for recipes/meals. Anything that will be used in the next couple of days gets a quick rinse, then straight into the veggie drawer. For everything else, I process. This is to prevent wastage, as so often I used to stock up on beautiful organic produce, only to find that it goes off and ends up in the compost pile (or worse - the bin). 

For any dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, silver-beet etc.) wash, de-spine, finely chop and freeze in re-usable ziplock bags. I generally divide into serving sizes, with each bag holding the amount I would use per person in a smoothie.

These bags can also be dumped straight into the pan or pot for breakfasts, fritatta, soups, stews or even par-boiled or pan fried as a side on their own.

For any snack veggies (carrots, celery, capsicum, green beans) these get rinsed and chopped into the perfect snack size. I then put them straight into a big glass container in the fridge, all mixed and ready to be grabbed for packing lunches and afternoon snacks. When prepped like this, it's SO easy for you (or the kids!) to grab healthy, fibrous veggies on the spot.

For meal-time veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels etc.) it totally depends on what you plan to do with them, but I generally process these so they are ready to go. For broccoli and cauliflower, that might mean chopping them up into florets and storing in a glass container in the fridge, or wrapped in one of my new beeswax cotton wraps! For me, this means that I save time when it comes to cooking and I'm ready to dump them straight into the pot or Thermomix. Boom. 

For fruits (banana, berries, mango, kiwifruit, cherries etc.) I LOVE to stock up on what's in season for my shakes, smoothies, crumbles and toppings. Wash and freeze fruits in an airtight container or plastic bag. For smoothie prep, separate into serving sizes so you can dump them straight into the blender! For bananas, peel first and then freeze airtight. 

2. BROTH BAG

I learned this one from Sarah Wilson's book, Simplicious and it was adopted immediately. As you're peeling, chopping and prepping your veggies, set a large bag nearby. Throw in any offcuts, onion ends, peels, cores, stems and herbs. Keep your off-cut bag in the freezer until you have collected enough for your next veggie or meat broth! 

3. PRESERVE AND FREEZE

Preserving has always been of great interest to me and I've dabbled with jars, dehydrators and fermentation. They are all great methods to play with and incorporate, but the simplest one when it comes to readily used food is the trusty freezer! It's a tool that most of us have access to and although it's not the same as "traditionally" preserving our food, it is a completely valid and easy way to keep food for longer.

When you plan your meal-prepping for the week, always make some extra servings that you can freeze. Not only will these be extremely helpful when you can't be bothered cooking or something comes up, we also dip into the freezer stash when we head on a camping trip - these cold blocks of curry, soups and stews are perfect in the esky and easy to heat up over the fire. 

Delicious leftover apple and rhubarb crumble

Delicious leftover apple and rhubarb crumble

We don't have a microwave at home, but my favourite way to defrost is to submerge in cold tap water. A small package of meat should thaw in under an hour.

As with anything, it's important to keep the freezer organised. Name and date your meals (I use a piece of paper tape) so that you can remember if that orange looking stuff was slow-cooked lamb shanks, pumpkin curry, soup or leftover diced tomatoes...I have been there way too many times!

Do you have some kitchen hacks that you can share? 

Ella Eats: Breakfast Crumble

Lizzy Marsh

My favourite crumble recipe, shared on Ella Eats!

This breakfast crumble is the perfect alternative to a big cooked breakfast, and is light enough to fuel your early morning ride or enjoy as post-workout snack. Packed with natural sugars and healthy fats, it tastes just as delicious as it looks.

This crumble is gluten and dairy free, and a great option for athletes wanting to reduce potential inflammation and reactivity in the gut.

Read more...

INTERVIEW: MATT AND LENTIL, GROWN & GATHERED

Lizzy Marsh

I was lucky enough to stumble across Matt and Lentil from Grown & Gathered through one of those crazy instagram moments where you end up 5 layers deep and not sure how you got there! I am so glad that I did. When I first came across them, this amazing couple had launched the Flower Exchange, a project that was all about trading their organic and farm grown flowers with the community for non-monetary goodness. How cool. 

From there, they have kicked more goals with their latest project - the book. My fave book of the moment, full of delicious and beautifully photographed recipes, ideas around sustainable living, trading, eating, farming and so much more. The perfect Christmas gift and an awesome way to share ideas and how-to's for a better lifestyle and happier planet. You can order the book online here, or pick up your copy from Workshop 3101 in Kew, Melbourne. 

Matt and Lentil, thanks so much for chatting with me and inspiring me (and many others) in the garden, kitchen and home. Now for some questions!

1. WE LOVE YOUR NEW BOOK, GROWN & GATHERED. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT TO SOMEONE WHO MIGHT BE NEW TO YOUR COMMUNITY?

Ha! It's about all the things! The book is really a documentation of our life and approach to sustainable farming/living. It contains absolutely everything we have learnt in the last 7 years farming fruits, veggies, flowers and herbs, raising animals for meat, milk, eggs and honey, gathering wild foods, trading our abundances with our community without money and of course EATING IT ALL! It's full of detailed how-to guides for all of the above and has over 100 recipes including fermented and bottled preserves, sourdough breads and pasta, fresh breakfasts, fun things to share, beautiful salads, addictive main dishes and decadent desserts that are GOOD for you.

2. IF SOMEONE IS INTERESTED IN LIVING A LIFE WITH LESS WASTE AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR TOP 3 TIPS?

Get to know where your food comes from is definitely number one. Get out there and meet your farmers at farmers markets, learn what's in season in your area, what's grown in your local area, and tap into that, and even start growing some of your own. Then, get to know where your food waste GOES. Start yourself and worm farm or find yourself a farmer who will take the waste to compost on farm. All that lovely fertility rotting in landfill - it's a crime! Third, buy the book :) there's so much in there to help people navigate the sustainability maze.

3. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL OF THE MOMENT?

Great question. Anything with asparagus really - or broad beans. They are the king and queen of spring to us! Asparagus, broccoli, chilli and tuna crepes in the book are definitely a fave in our house right now.

4. I CAN IMAGINE THINGS CAN GET BUSY ON THE FARM, PARTICULARLY AT CERTAIN TIMES OF YEAR! WHAT DO YOU GUYS DO TO UNWIND, RELAX OR UNPLUG? 

Sit down! We are so go, go, go for work, all we really want to do in a moment of peace is just sit and be with each other. The farm is a physically demanding thing, but everything that happens at our desks is just as demanding mentally. I think we could all do with a bit more simple quiet time, not looking at a screen, not even reading a book. Just sitting.

5. I COME ACROSS A LOT OF PEOPLE AND CLIENTS WHO FIND THE WORLD OF NUTRITION A LITTLE OVERWHELMING AND CONFUSING. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR FOOD PHILOSOPHY?

The way we eat reflects absolutely the world we observe around us. We say "Eat a seasonal, regional diet. 90% plants, properly prepared," and it's a way of eating that more reflects the eating habits of our ancestors. Our garden is king so vegetables and fruits take up the most space on our plates. Then come grains and pulses (properly prepared - soaked/soured - to bring out their goodness), foraged foods, a little meat, eggs and dairy, and of course something sweet :) We're definitely not afraid of fat - unless you're talking margarine and we think that everything in moderation is a pretty great motto. Biodynamic or at least chemical free always.

INTERVIEW WITH AN ETHICAL BUTCHER : SAM CANNING

Lizzy Marsh

I have known Sam for many years now and feel very lucky to have him as part of our community. Sam was one of the first people to introduce me to the question "where does my meat come from?" From there, I've been questioning and considering how all our food is raised, grown, treated and tampered with. Sam's shop is walking distance from our space in Kew and I like to vote with my dollar by supporting him and his high quality network of farmers and producers.

Wherever in the world you may be, voting with your dollar, shopping locally and supporting your community are important not only for your health, but also to continue to enhance ethical business and lifestyle practices. If you can't catch or grow your own food - it's critical to know where and how it's been raised. Thanks Sam!

What is an ethical butcher?

Well for me, it starts with the desire to simply be an ethical person.  I thinks it so important to be mindful of the things that affect other people, other beings or the planet.  Many businesses are geared with a "take, take, take" state of mind, whereas I believe it's extremely important to give back in return. Having said that, it's hard to make-good of the fact that our business exists because people want to eat meat and this is facilitated by the taking of animals lives.  So I feel the least we could do is give back to charities which support and advocate animal rights.  We also use hydro electricity, maintain our carbon neutrality (certified), and use paper bags from sustainably managed plantations. Not to mention we take very good care of our staff, customers and small community groups. 

Why is it important that we know where our meat comes from? 

It's important to know where our food comes from for so many reasons. Like, keeping the local economy strong and supporting local jobs and industry. And, if animal welfare and husbandry ethics are important to you, then shopping locally means you have the opportunity to speak with your shopkeepers about how the the produce is farmed. Let's not assume that all of the produce available to us these days was sourced locally, respectfully, or humanely either. The global market for fresh produce; fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood and dairy is ever-growing. And while Australian Standards might be met in order for these products to be imported, how do you feel about the fact that the oranges you eat could very well have travelled 13,000km to get to you? Or, that your favourite bacon could have come from a Danish pig, which was raised in an environment so far from what nature intended, it's more like a scene from The Matrix than a traditional pig farm?

How do you ensure that your meat is ethically raised and fits the bill? 

Well in the end, I guess a large part of this comes down to "trust".  The only way I can be certain of how a farm operates, is to go to the farms, meet the farmers and see these environments for myself. For me, there's no exact science to what I consider to be ethical farming. And the very topic of "ethical meat" is a tricky one at that - with many varying opinions and points of view. I base my decisions on farmers attitudes, their commitment to their animals, the appearance of the farms and the general vibe I get from the animals as to whether they're happy (which I believe you can tell).  Yes, there is free range certification and farm assurance programs which provide the framework for high welfare farming, but there is nothing like seeing the farms with your own eyes and making the decision for yourself, which is what I have done, and continue to do with all of my suppliers.

If you could pass on three tips for someone that is new to sourcing high quality meat, what would they be? 

Do a little research and ask your butcher where their meat comes from.  Once you have found out, do a little bit of your own research into these farmers and brands and try and get a feel for what they are doing.  It's best not to assume anything when it comes to this kind of thing and a little research may answer many questions that you have.  Keep in mind the term "organic" doesn't necessarily mean high welfare, nor does it mean "grass fed".  If you are after high, grass fed produce, then this is exactly what you need to be asking for.  Keep an eye out for terms such as "bred free range" or "outdoor bred" as neither of them are actually free range. Understand that naturally, beef and lamb eat grass, so the healthiest animals are fed on grass until the day they are processed - not just until they are placed in a grain feeding lot. Ask you butcher how long they "age" their red meat.  You need four weeks age on most cuts of beef and two week age on lamb before they are at their optimal tenderness. Fresh red meat is tough! Pork also benefits from about 10 days age, whereas chicken is best when it's fresh, fresh, fresh.

Sam Canning, Cannings Butchers

https://canningsfreerangebutchers.com.au/

BE WATER WISE: 5 WAYS

Lizzy Marsh

WATER is the major component of your body, so it's no surprise that it's extremely important for optimal health. For most of us, getting access to a quality water source isn't as simple as it used to be, and unfortunately, it's not as healthy either. 

If you've experienced one of our consultations or events, you'll know that we prioritise water quality and encourage you to start asking questions about the water coming out of your kitchen sink and what it may (or may not) be doing for your body. 

Here's a quick and easy list of 5 ways to drink water, better.

1. FIND A CLEAN, CHEMICAL FREE SOURCE

If water conveniently pours from your tap at home, chances are high that it has been heavily altered before it makes it's way into your drink bottle. It is argued that these alterations to our water are for the greater good and in particular, it's believed that fluoride is necessary for healthy, strong teeth. If we take a first principles approach, does it make sense that we need to add a chemical into our water source to protect our teeth? I don't think so. Does it seem logical to drink low doses of the chemical chlorine to kill living organisms in our water? I hope not. If you're interested in reading more about the long and short term side effects of fluoride, here's some more info from Underground Wellness. For me, the potential side effects of long term, low dosages of toxic chemicals is enough for me to spend $200 - $400 on a high quality water filter. In addition, once you taste the difference between tap and high quality filtered water, there's no going back. If you're interested in filtering your water at home, do your research, ask the right questions and  make sure that the system removes fluoride and chlorine, as well as the other contaminants. These ceramic gravity filters are available in Australia, and we've had good success with Tru Water Filters as a counter-top option at the gym. 

 

2. ADD THE NATURAL SALTS BACK IN

With high quality filtering comes very clean water. Possibly a little too clean. Different water sources contain varied amounts of mineral salts like calcium, magnesium and sodium. The highest levels of these minerals are found in mineral waters, followed by spring water, ground water sources and lastly treated tap water. Waterborne minerals are in a form that is easily absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract, and it has been suggested that drinking water may be an important source of mineral intake*. Although pretty much impossible to replicate natural mineral water, we may be able to add some minerals back in using a high quality salt like Celtic sea salt or Himalayan rock salt. I also like the idea of using natural, unrefined salts from your local area. We are lucky to have some amazing salt in Victoria, Australia. You can add a pinch of salt (you shouldn't taste it) to advantage from the trace minerals that it contains. Try mixing up your salts for mineral variety.

 

3. GO PLASTIC FREE

Reduce your exposure to hormone-altering toxins like BPA, as well as other chemicals found in plastics by switching to a glass or stainless steel drink-bottle. My favourite way to collect a supply of glass containers and drinking vessels is to recycle old jars from food products. Simply soak them in warm, soapy water and the sticky labels will fall off. Keep your water out of direct sunlight and heat. 

 

4. GET THE RIGHT AMOUNT

The amount of water that you require will depend on your environment, nutrition and excretion. As a guideline, Paul Chek provides the following formula that considers body size: 

Water intake = body mass (in Kg) divided by 0.024

For example, a 75 kg person would require approximately 3 litres of water per day, not including additional sweating! 

 

5. FLAVOUR NATURALLY

Despite an abundance "healthy" beverages appearing on the market, one of the best drinking options is water. Plain and simple. 

Pure, clean drinking water (with some added salts) is readily absorbed by the body and important for cellular function and optimal health. 

For those of you who might find water boring, it's important to start to train sustainable and regular habits that leave you drinking more water and feeling better. Infused waters are a fantastic way to spice things up, and a variety of fruits, vegetables and spices can be added to an at home water jug, your glass drink bottle or to the centrepiece of your next dinner party. 

How much water do you drink each day?

 

HOW TO: cut the coffee

Lizzy Marsh

You may have heard a few rumbles about cutting coffee, coffee detoxes and reducing stress response by skipping your morning espresso. Whether you have yet decided to experience life without coffee or not, I wanted to share a couple of ideas, pointers and considerations before you take action and cut the habit.

WHY CUT COFFEE?

Some of you may be wondering...why on EARTH would I live life without my morning cup of Joe? After all, it's the one thing that I look forward to when I wake up in the morning, it boosts productivity and gets me revved up for another day of ticking things off my list. 

When I make the decaffeination suggestion to many of my clients, I get a blank stare, often associated with a firm shake of the head from side to side. This is explained by "I have given SO much up in my diet, coffee is my one vice - it's all I have left!" After working with lots of individuals to reduce stress and manage health, I now know that this is simply a sign that coffee has a big, firm, caramel-coloured, delicious smelling, caffeinated grip on you. Not unlike alcohol and sugar, caffeine is highly addictive and a hard habit to shake. 

The research around caffeine and it's effect on your stress hormone cortisol is highly contradictory. In some cases, caffeine has been shown to cause spikes in cortisol that interfere with our daily hormonal rhythms, and other research shows that we build a tolerance to our daily cup when consumed at the same time of day. Without a doubt however, many of us are reliant on using coffee to get going in the morning and to wake us up from an energy slump during the day, and this is when it can become problematic.

Coffee is often used to curb appetite and replace the much more important nourishing, nutrient-dense food. Increased levels of our flight and fight hormone cortisol may lead to anxiety, irritability, poor quality sleep, sugar cravings, inflammation and possible body fat storage. 

MY TWO CENTS

For anyone questioning a caffeine detox, here are some points on why I highly recommend giving it a go:

  • If you can't remember the last day you had that didn't start with a cup of coffee, how do you know how it makes you feel? Do you suffer from anxiety, irritability, lashing out at others, fatigue, brain fog or difficulty sleeping? Cutting the caffeine may just help.
  • It doesn't have to be forever. I've had some great successes with caffeine detoxes and I know that life is better (for me) without it! But....it still creeps back in. I live in Melbourne after all! Try experimenting with a block of time - I now aim for about three 2 month blocks each year without it.
  • There are LOTS of alternatives. From turmeric lattes to herbal teas, there is a long list of warm beverages that you can enjoy sans caffeine. Try this delicious anti-inflammatory ginger tonic to kick-start your day instead!
  • If you struggle to sleep, this is a no-brainer. We all know that caffeine can impact our ability to drift off into slumber and some people are more sensitive than others. If you struggle to sleep at night, do shift work or find it extremely difficult to get out of bed in the morning, a caffeine-free existence might be for you.

HOW TO DO IT: 7 days to quit

After going through a few caffeine detoxes myself, I have created a little guide to weening off the coffee bean. Be. Kind. To. Yourself. It's not easy and the withdrawals can be quite confronting! Here's my method (for a 3-cup per day addict).

Day 1: Normal coffee intake. Enjoy every sip and sniff. 

Day 2: One strong coffee

Day 3: Two weak (single shot) coffees

Day 4: One weak (single shot) coffee

Day 5: 2 black teas 

Day 6: 1 black tea

Day 7: 2 green teas

BOOM. 

What are your thoughts or experiences? Have you yet experienced life without? I'd love to hear how you go!

RE-DISCOVER YOUR BLISS

Lizzy Marsh

landscape-nature-forest-trees.jpg

If you have been to one of my recent talks or sat with me in a consultation, you'll know that I love to talk about BLISS. After diving a little deeper into the study of Auryveda, I wanted to learn more and more about the concept of balance, a state that is different for every single individual, and something that can be difficult to measure - particularly in a fast-paced, schedule-run world. 

The concept of balance, or BLISS is where we are supposed to be. It's the default. In our everyday lives, feeling good should be the status quo. Every time we compromise sleep, push things a little too hard, make poor food decisions or down another double espresso, we tilt ourselves a little more out of balance. As you can imagine, many of us do this day in and day out. Every decision we make can take us further from our default state of happiness and optimal health. 

In Auryvedic medicine, symptoms and sickness are the body’s signal that we need to restore balance, eliminate whatever is causing the blockages, and re-establish the healthy flow of energy and information. But how? As we commit ourselves to more responsibilities, appointments and deadlines, it becomes harder to swing things back into balance quickly and the further we stray from our blissful state, the harder it can be to identify that we've left at all. 

Ayurveda self care is the process by which one expresses love for one’s self.  The way you go about your day, the foods you eat, the company you keep; the exercise you practice are components of how much value you place on you.

IT'S UP TO YOU:

The signs and symptoms that many of us have accepted as "everyday life" are often little indicators that you may have shifted from true North. Fatigue, frequent illness, skin problems, inflammatory conditions, irritability, weight gain, bloating, PMS, sugar cravings....the list goes on. The important step to make is to acknowledge that you may need to re-assess your schedule and bring things back in to balance within the mind and body. Ayurveda teaches that the mind has the greatest influence in directing the body toward sickness and health. 

KEEP IT SIMPLE

As relevant today as they were thousands of years ago, the Ayurvedic principles for restoring and maintaining mind-body balance are listed below. The good news? They aren't fancy, expensive or invasive. Have a look at each point and assess yourself - this will help you to identify what kind of self lovin' you might need.

  1. Take time each day to quiet your mind.
  2. Eat a colorful, flavorful diet.
  3. Engage in daily exercise that enhances flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular fitness.
  4. Sleep soundly at night.
  5. Eliminate what is not serving you.
  6. Cultivate loving, nurturing relationships.
  7. Perform work that awakens your passion. 

ACTIVITY: WRITE YOUR BLISS LIST

Homework for many of my clients, writing a list of the most blissful activities that you can think of might be the first step for you to start identifying how you can bring things back into a more balanced state. I keep this list accessible and on "switch-off Sundays" try to tick a few things off. If I'm feeling particularly flat, these are go-to activities that I know will recharge me. I've shared my list-of-the-moment with you below, but remember, I might find something totally relaxing and you might find it irritating.

Note: be aware of the high-stress activity trap. For example, you might find it relaxing to head out for an easy one hour jog, or to master the latest video game or scroll aimlessly through Instagram. Although you might feel distracted, many of these types of activities will still illicit a stress response (both physiologically and mentally) and do more harm than good. Try to go for options that not only bliss you out, but also give the body and mind a chance to relax and recover too.

In no particular order, you'll find me blissing out while: 

  • Lying on the floor on my belly, reading from my cookbook collection
  • Walking in nature (device-free)
  • Getting a massage
  • Going to a Yin or restorative yoga class
  • Cooking dinner to cranking music with a delicious glass of vino
  • Meal-prepping while listening to a favourite podcast
  • Reading on the couch with incense burning
  • Taking an Epsom salt bath with candles
  • Hanging with my man (device-free)
  • Heading out of the city on a random road trip
  • Swimming in the ocean (especially in Winter)
  • Paddling out behind the break (especially in Summer)
  • Decluttering and organising
  • Making a pot of loose-leaf tea in my glass teapot

I encourage you to have a go! What do you love doing? You'll notice these are all pretty achievable things. I'd also love to kick back while sailing through the Fijian Islands on a Yacht, but it's unrealistic for me to squeeze that in as a regular bliss-habit. Many of the activities can fill just a 5 or 10 minute block of time too.

Feel free to add your faves to the comments below. It's awesome when we can borrow from (and even share blissful experiences with) each other.

Sources: The Chopra Centre: http://www.chopra.com/our-services/ayurveda

SLOW DOWN, YOU'RE EATING TO FAST

Lizzy Marsh

First, ask yourself this: are you a fast, moderate or slow eater? Have you ever noticed your eating speed? Are you a slow eater with other people around and forget to chew when you are by yourself? Does eating allow you to “check out”?

These questions can provide some great insight into your relationship with food, your digestive health and even your body composition. Speed eating may explain why you experience bloating, feel blocked up or why you can’t shift those pesky pounds.

Why slow down?

CHECK IN, NOT OUT

For many of us, we eat to “check out”.  You may understand what I mean if you have ever consumed a large amount of food in a very short time and then realised that you didn’t taste anything, have any recollection of how much you were eating or even how you ended up with the food in the first place!

Many of us turn to food as a way to remove ourselves from a situation or feeling. It can be an escape mechanism to cope with stress, a bad day, negative or even positive emotions or simply a way to feel good.

FOOD IS GOOD!

Why rush something that you enjoy? Food should be delicious, enjoyable and long lasting! After all, it’s how we nourish our bodies and are able to live a healthy and fulfilling life. No matter what you’re eating, it’s important to slow down and enjoy it. Get what you need out of it! If you’re eating to reduce stress, slow down and focus on calming the body and bring your attention to your breath so that you can get the outcome you want and find calm. In many cultures, food is seen as a way to bring people together, celebrate events and traditions and to have fun. In parts of Europe, it’s normal for meals to take place over several hours, but with a focus on whole foods and social interaction, it leads to slow fulfilment, not overconsumption.

Whether you are enjoying a meal by yourself or with others, make a conscious choice to savour it. Notice how the food tastes, present it in on a beautiful plate or bowl and make it last!

KICK START DIGESTION

You may have heard the saying that “digestion begins in the mouth” and this is very true! We have both mechanical and chemical digestion that starts before you swallow a mouthful. Chewing, or mastication, is the mechanical breakdown of food into smaller pieces that can be more easily digested in future stages. The production of saliva is also very important and will facilitate the breakdown of starches in your food, as well as providing the right pH for these enzymes to do their work. When we inhale food without taking the appropriate time to chew and allow our saliva to do its job, we miss out on a critical stage in this complex process. The result: larger food particles in the stomach and intestines that take longer to break down (with possibly less nutrients absorbed) and the associated symptoms of bloating, gas, abdominal pain and diarrhoea or constipation.

INCREASE AWARENESS

Slowing down, chewing, and taking the time to taste and enjoy our food will not only provide a better experience, but it will help you to become more aware of the foods that you are eating, the reasons for selecting these foods and how they impact your body. Speed eating can be a way of distracting us from our emotions or stress, rather than the nourishing and life-giving experience that it should be.

For me, I know that when I’m under emotional or physical stress, I am much more likely to order another double espresso or find myself finishing off a block of chocolate with no awareness at all. If you are able to slow down and check in, you will at least be able to recognise that there is a reason why you might be searching for a hit of sugar, caffeine or food-based distraction. Not only will slowing down improve your self-awareness in times of stress, it will also allow you to tune into YOUR body and start to identify which foods might be making you feel lethargic, irritable, bloated or absolutely fantastic!

What do you think? Have you noticed if you’re a speed eater? I'd love to hear your experiences below.

BONE BROTH | A BEGINNER'S GUIDE

Lizzy Marsh

Have you noticed these two words flying around a lot lately? Bone broth is a regular occurrence in our household, and if you haven’t yet caught on, here’s our guide to why you should dust off the stockpot and learn a trick or two from our frugal ancestors that knew not to waste any part of the animal. Not only is bone broth incredibly nutrient dense, it’s jam-packed full of minerals that nourish skin cells, help repair and reduce inflammation throughout the body. Gelatine-rich bone broth is great for all types of lifestyle and I believe in particular it is a powerful tool for those who are athletes or are more active.

WHAT IS BONE BROTH?

Bone broth is a nutrient-dense liquid, or soup, made from a combination of bones, carcasses, vegetables and seasonings. The term “broth” is often used interchangeably with “stock” but there can be a few subtle differences:

Broth: Generally refers to a home-cooked version that will vary depending on the leftovers and ingredients available. Often, broth is made with bones or carcasses containing meat, resulting in a cloudy soup-like product.

Stock: Generally prepared in a commercial kitchen, following a standard or prescribed formula. Stock is normally used as a base in many soups, stews and recipes and is often more gelatinous and clear due to the use of joint bones and carcasses.

WHY SHOULD I MAKE IT?

When transitioning into a more simple lifestyle and way of cooking, it is common for people to start exploring different types of meats, foods, and recipes as well as ways to recycle more, waste less and learn about the foods and cooking practices enjoyed by our ancestors.

The healing power of gelatine and collagen found in broths is very underestimated. Gelatine supports healthy skin, nails and hair, promotes probiotic balance and growth and is used as a treatment for joint pain and function. Both gelatine and collagen are associated with protection and soothing of the gut lining and may prove useful for leaky gut syndrome and the autoimmune disorders that accompany it.

For centuries, gelatine-rich broth has been used to treat a range of ailments, from digestive illnesses to chronic disease. Nutrition researchers Sally Fallon and Kaayla Daniel of the Weston A. Price Foundation explain that bone broths contain minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulphur in forms that your body can easily absorb.

There are many parts of the animal from which we cannot normally extract nutrition unless simmered for hours with the assistance of vinegar or other acids to draw minerals into the broth. These include bones, marrow, skin, feet, necks, tendon and ligaments. All of these weird and wonderful parts of an animal can be used to boost health for you and your family, and have been used by most cultures for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the Western diet has adapted to exclude many of these nutrient rich and nourishing foods.

WHAT DO I NEED?

High quality bones and animal parts: It is very important to track down grass-fed and free range animal products that are free of toxins like chemicals, antibiotics and hormones. Ask your local butcher if they can provide these for you.


Vegetables and herbs: Additions like carrots, celery, onions, garlic, thyme, and rosemary will add flavour and nutrition to your broth.

Vinegar or acid: A vinegar or acidic wine will help to draw nutrients from the bones into the broth. An organic apple cider vinegar is a favourite.

Time: A broth needs to simmer at a low heat for a long time to extract nutrients from the bones and joint tissue. The simmering time will depend on the type of broth (fish, beef, chicken, vegetable) and can vary from 4 to 48 hours. Generally we like to let it heat and simmer at least overnight.

Cooking: It can be hard to find a way to easily cook the bone broth for such a long time on a low heat. One way is to use a regular slow cooker on low, or even “keep warm,” then use a simple wall-plug timer and alternate the power from on to off every 30mins or so. This allows heat to be applied, which is stored to a sufficient level during the “off” intervals to keep cooking the broth. It also stops the broth from “overcooking” or heating too hot. Broth can also be made in a pressure cooker.

Bone broth is a great addition to the diet at any time. From first thing in the morning alongside your whole-food breakfast, through to the base for a soup for dinner on a cold night. Try different bones, vegetables and cooking times. Stay tuned for next week when we share our favourite bone broth recipe!

SOURCES

Dr. Mercola. Bone Broth—One of Your Most Healing Diet Staples. 2013 http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/16/bone-broth-benefits.aspx

Fallon, S. Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. 2001. New Trends Publishing.

Dr. Axe, J. Bone Broth Benefits for Digestion, Arthritis, and Cellulite. 2014. http://draxe.com/the-healing-power-of-bone-broth-for-digestion-arthritis-and-cellulite/