micro-actions to help our environment

This post is a culmination of things that have been mounting over a period of time, so please excuse me if I ramble or jump spot to spot.

Does anyone feel like their micro-actions, can be helping the world? I do.

I want to explore a few ideas with you, in the hopes that if everyone who reads this, is either already doing this action, or is going to adapt at least one, that we can make this world a better place for future generations.

OUT
I keep recyclable bags in my car at all times.
I keep a recyclable bag in my handbag.
When I started saying no to plastic bags as part of Plastic Free July 5 months ago, it made me realise (ironically) how many plastic bags I had been using.I throw a re-usable drink bottle into my bag. My sons are always asking for a drink, so this saves me buying a plastic bottle that will end up as landfill.
If I get to the supermarket & there is a trolley lying idle near where I’ve parked, I return it to the trolley bay or use it. If all of us did this, they wouldn’t need the trolley trucks which emit pollution.
I have started shopping for pantry staples at Naked Foods – so I can buy only what I need. I take my own jars (when I remember), but when I forget them, I scoop only what I need into a brown paper bag, minimising wastage. I then recycle the brown paper bag.
Sushi – my sons love sushi & I enjoy it too, but to paraphrase another one of my idols, Be An Unfu***r, soy sauce bottles are out of control in terms of the volume of rubbish they create. Say no to sauce if you’re not going to have it (it’s high in sodium & gluten anyway); or return the soy sauce if you don’t consume it – along with the rubber bands from around the boxes.
We shop most weekends at our local Growers Market – Orange Grove at Lilyfield in Sydney. Buying direct from the Farmers ensures that the food has changed hands minimal times & is mostly from more local sources, ensuring a decreased carbon footprint. I also try where possible to purchase products with no plastic. There are generally a few products that will contain plastic packaging including salad leaves & berries.
I have been walking to work for over 10 years now (except for a period of 3 months where I had to drive) – it’s a great way to start the day, you get in some steps – in my case about 3km in each direction, & it means one less car on the road. This is probably the biggest thing I would like people to adapt. It helps you get closer to your target of 10,000 steps a day & in this time poor age, it serves as a double purpose – your mode of transport to work & exercise.

HOME
We recycle as much as possible at home -I’m not just talking cardboard, plastic, glass & tin in the recycling bin, we donate clothes to charity bins, pass on toys to our daycare, give items that could be used for kids, such as egg cartons to school to be used for creative projects.
I turn off our hot water heating, sometimes for 2 days a week & still have plenty of hot water. Not only am I decreasing our electricity bill, but decreasing our usage.
This next one is a little extreme to some & I get that – I have a rule of “maximum 4 lights” in the evening – I am a single Mum 5 days a week & my sons are generally asleep before it gets dark. Anything more than that seems excessive & wasteful.
Planning for the next step – we are hoping to renovate our house next year & top of my priority list is the installation of solar heating. Our previous home had solar hot water & it was fantastic.
We have started a little herb patch with mint, chilli, thyme & basil all going well. Not having to buy packaged herbs that travel from who-knows-where, is a big green thumbs up.
I love that Sarah Wilson is using her public image for such good – her message of minimalism & decreasing consumption is one many of us could take on board. I’ve realised that since having children, in the last 6 years the quantity of my clothes has certainly decreased; but in contrast, the overall amount of things we have has increased, much against my beliefs. Hear me out – we have lots of children’s books. I read to them every night & try to rotate them. Perhaps my next micro action should be to borrow books only from the library? My sons are growing almost before my eyes, which means buying the next size up in clothes, but also keeping the size below for my younger son. We have puzzles, games, lego, animals, a train track, duplo, scooters, textas, pencils, activity books, bikes & quite a lot of balls. We have a no TV policy during the week so they enjoy other forms of play, including the above mentioned items. I’d love to tell you we have a scooter which breaks down into LEGO pieces then converts into a puzzle but it isn’t so.
We use recycled paper from my Dad’s office that has his old work on one side.
We have ceiling fans installed in both bedrooms, but no air conditioning.
We have never owned a drier & do all our washing on a cold cycle
It may sound a little extreme but I also try when I am cooking to turn off the oven &/or stove, a minute or so before an item is cooked. As it is an old cooker, it takes a while to cool down & I figure that saving a minute of electricity a day, surely adds up.
Sharing is caring. Luckily, my brother is into a healthy lifestyle (mostly!) so when I have excess of an ingredient, I let him know & none goes to waste. I recently bought some Lucuma & baobab but don’t think I’ll get through either of them so he is taking half for me.

Tell me what YOUR micro-actions are – I love to learn something new!
I still have a long way to go, but don’t we all?

The fabulous quote as the cover shot of this post is from the Natural History Museum in London 

Until next time, RE-USE,  REDUCE & RECYCLE xxx

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banana berry smoothie bowl

There’s something indulgent but delicious about having a smoothie bowl for breakfast. I absolutely love this combination & could have a variation of it most days for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

INGREDIENTS
2 bananas
1 cup frozen organic berries (berries tend to be highly sprayed crops so I recommend buying organic where possible)
2 tablespoons chia seeds, soaked in 1/4 cup water for 5 minutes
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons cacao (cacao is the raw, unprocessed version of cocoa so contains many more nutrients)
OPTIONAL: 1 tspn cinnamon powder, 1 tspn vanilla powder, flaked almonds to top

METHOD
1. Turn the stove onto low – in a small pan, mix the cacao & coconut oil
2. Once chia seeds have formed a gel, tip bananas, berries & chia seeds into the blender, along with vanilla & cinnamon if you are using it. I use an Omniblend which is great for smoothies. Blend until well combined. I like mine thick but if you prefer it more of a ‘drinkable’ texture, add a little water / coconut water / coconut milk / almond milk.
3. Pour banana berry mixture into a bowl
4. Slowly pour the cacao mix on top – it should set almost immediately into a crunchy ice-magic like sauce
5. EAT!

 

The MICROBIOME

It’s been a bit of a buzz word in my studies through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, in particular how to heal it.

There are many things that affect our microbiome, primarily:
1. The use of pesticides in foods
2. The overuse of antibiotics – please note, I am not judging anyone. My first son had repeated ear infections & I continued to give him antibiotics as I wanted him to get better. In the end he was operated on as his ears would not clear & it disrupted his speech development.
3. The way we are born – whether vaginal or caesarean. Babies born vaginally get their first inoculation with healthy bacterias from their Mother’s vagina.
4. Whether we are breastfed or formula-fed

So what is the Microbiome? It is the trillions of tiny bugs that live in your gut.Sounds gross, but actually most of them do good.

If research is correct, when our micriobiome is in balance, it can affect our health in a positive way. If our microbiome is thrown out, primarily by the factors above, the good news is we can fix it.

Fixing the microbiome
1. Do not use hand sanitiser – it limits our exposure to a wide variety of microbes, that could otherwise be beneficial
2. Get outdoors & get dirty – ever heard the saying a bit of dirt never hurt anyone?
3. Food: do not eat foods that are processed, genetically-modified, contain sugar or wheat. Also factory-farmed meats which tend to be given a lot of antibiotics (ironically to keep them alive, just to be slaughtered)
4. Minimise antibiotic consumption
5. Take a pro-biotic, ideally with 20-50 billion live organisms per dose
6. Be green. Eat plants, many of them, ideally organically grown.
7. Eat probiotic (fermented) foods, such as sauerkraut, kim chi, kombucha & pickled veggies. Like you already needed an excuse – kombucha is delicious, add

Microbiome reading
I love this article by Neurologist David Perlmutter.
This post by Kendall K Morgan is also an easy readDr Frank Lipman has also written on how to build a better microbiome

  

vegan pesto | GF DF

There aren’t many things better than pesto….I used some lovely organic parsley (from Wholefoods House) & freshly picked basil from our garden for a fresh, sour, salty & rich versatile sauce / dressing / dip.

It’s vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, grain-free.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups parsley & basil, total
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (I use an organic one from Naked Foods)
2 tablespoons pine nuts
juice of half a lemon (you may not need all of it)
zest of half a lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
OPTIONAL – to taste – chilli flakes & salt

METHOD
1.
Throw all ingredients into the blender plus a pinch of salt BUT NOT the lemon juice & olive oil
2. Slowly pour the olive oil in
3. Slowly pour HALF the lemon juice in, then when well combined, taste to see if you want to add more sourness
4. Tip into a bowl – it will make about 1/3 of a cup – perfect to dip sweet potato wedges in, in my opinion

I love your feedback – leave a comment, a like, or come say hi on Facebook or Instagram.
I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend, filled with most of your primary food – relationships, physical activity & spirituality. Plenty of time for the fourth element (career) tomorrow 🙂

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banana coconut choc peanut butter smoothie

Well hey, it’s Friday here in Australia & with a forecast of 29 degrees & torturous humidity in our second week of Autumn, there’s no better excuse for a smoothie.

This one is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, no cane sugar, no soy, no preservatives, no grains, but plenty of good fats, naturally occuring sugars (banana) & protein.

INGREDIENTS
Remainder of a jar of certified organic Mayver’s peanut butter & coconut (or plain peanut butter is also fine). I estimated there was abour 1/4 cup or less in the jar
2 bananas, frozen overnight
1/4 cup coconut milk, frozen overnight
2 tablespoons chia seeds, soaked in 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup coconut oil
4 tablespoons cacao
**optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla & 1 teaspoon cinnamon. I add these 2 ingredients to almost everything!

Substitutes: if you’re anything like me, you see a recipe & you need to make it. now. But then you check your pantry…..chia seeds are purely a nutritional boost & won’t affect the smoothie. No coconut milk? Just add a little extra banana. No peanut butter? Almond butter would also be delicious in this combination.

METHOD
1. Soak the chia seeds in water, stir occasionally. They should be done in 5 minutes
2. While chia seeds are soaking, scoop about half of the remaining PB out of the jar (this will go on top at the end). Set aside in a little bowl.
2. On a low heat in a small saucepan, combine the cacao & coconut oil – this stuff is awesome, when poured on the (frozen) smoothie, it goes hard almost immediately like a healthy ice-magic.
3. Blend bananas, coconut milk, chia mix, vanilla & cinnamon (if using)
4. Pour frozen mixture into the jar. Top with remaining peanut butter, then slowly drizzle over the chocolate mix. You may have some remaining which can be frozen in moulds
5. Eat. immediately. Probably best to share it.

I love your feedback – let me know what you think of this recipe. Shall I create more like it?
Come say hi on Instagram or Facebook

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crumbed fish | family friendly

I have a confession to make. Until not that long ago, I used to buy crumbed fish fillets for my sons. I don’t know why, when I would always flick through the ingredient list, somehow justifying that it wasn’t an everyday food in our household.

I have a few versions of this crumbed fish, but this was tonight’s which was very popular

INGREDIENTS
500g white fish fillets (I used MSC certified Hoki fillets)
1 cup quinoa flakes (from Naked Foods)
1/3 cup brown rice flour
2 organic eggs, lightly whisked with a fork
Your choice of oil for cooking

INGREDIENTS FOR THE REMAINDER OF DINNER
1 large sweet potato, cut into small wedges
1.5 cups organic lettuce (I love Coolibah Organics which I buy from Wholefoods House)
1/2 lemon, cut into wedges
2/3 cup frozen peas
*Mayonnaise is optional (in our house, it’s essential!)

METHOD
1. Set oven to 200 degrees celsius – slice sweet potato, then place in the oven with a dash of olive oil on baking paper in an oven tray. Set the timer for 30-40 minutes
2. Slice lemons, boil peas for 2 minutes then drain, place salad on the platter/bowl
3. When the sweet potato has about 15 minutes to go, place 3 bowls on the bench – in 1, tip the brown rice flour, the next eggs, the final quinoa flakes. Make sure the bowls are shallow/wide enough that it is easy to “dip & flip” each fillet before cooking
4. Dip each piece of fish in the brown rice flour, then eggs (let any excess drip off), then coat in quinoa flakes
5. Fry in preferred oil for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden.
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Easy take to work lunch | vego

On the days I am organised enough, I love to make lunch to take to work. It tends to be cheaper, you get exactly what you want & it tends to be more nutrient dense. My brother is currently staying with us & my sons are obsessed with him, which means I have more time in the morning while they are attached at the hip to him.

INGREDIENTS
2 x organic eggs
1 small sweet potato
1 cup organic baby spinach
3 baby roma tomatoes
1 avocado
1/4 capsicum
1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

METHOD
1. Roast sweet potato at 200 degrees for 40 minutes
2. When sweet potato has about 15 minutes to go, boil eggs (I put them in the water once it is warm, then boil for 5 minutes).
3. Slice tomatoes, capsicum, cut avo in half & lemon in quarters
4. Once cooked, peel the eggs, let the sweet potato cool a little
5. Layer all ingredients into a container, with sesame seeds & sunflower seeds on top
As a side note, some of you may have read my stance on plastic but I am also anti-waste so will continue to utilise these containers until they are no longer usable. Long live minimalism.
6. Squeeze the lemon & drizzle olive oil over, pop on the lid then throw in your bag.

I recommend refrigerating any products that are not vegan in your lunchbox. Of course I ended up eating mine as soon as I got out of the shower at work

Have a great day gorgeous