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How to Bring the Holiday You Home

How to Bring the Holiday You Home

Marion O'Leary | February 3, 2020

‘We don’t actually need that much in life to be comfortable’, I thought to myself as we settled into our relatively sparsely-furnished holiday chalet on Rottnest island. A short ferry ride from Fremantle, Rottnest is a little patch of paradise for local holiday-makers. The chalets are a few steps from the beach, private cars are not allowed, and neither are dogs or cats so the quokkas (cute cat-sized marsupials) can roam safely. After 24 hours, I feel like a different person. If I brought a computer or phone with me, it’s eventually forgotten and I slip into that state where I can just be – reading on the balcony while listening to the waves, taking a bike ride to pick up supplies or try out a different beach, and enjoying that distinctive Rottnest feeling of permanently salty skin and sandy toes. 

The return to the busy-ness and clutter of real life can be quite a jolt. I wondered what it is about holidays like these that are so special – and how we can bring some of that holiday feeling back home to our everyday lives. Here’s what I came up with.

Clutter and chores

A holiday means taking with us only the bare essentials – our loved ones and a change of clothes. We leave behind all the other ‘stuff’ – books, documents, clothing, equipment, furniture, utensils, gadgets, decorative objects and memorabilia.  We are no longer surrounded by the things we accumulate and store, nor are we reminded of the endless chores that need doing in our homes. No wonder the Marie Kondo method has been such a hit – it provides a simple approach to the daunting task of dealing with the stuff that can make our lives unnecessarily complicated. Decluttering in the physical world creates a calm space in our minds. What’s more, chores become less burdensome, because they can be more easily carried out. 

This philosophy dovetails nicely with the ‘tiny house’ movement – a home about the size of a Rottnest chalet – where belongings must be pared down and the use of space carefully planned. Spaces are more multi-purpose and everything has its place. What’s more, it means that every thing you buy has to be carefully considered – having minimal space means you can have only so much stuff. For some, the appeal of a tiny house is financial – a tiny mortgage or rent means it’s possible to spend less time earning a living – and that means there’s more time to follow your passion or live in holiday mode.

These approaches sit well with the ‘Buy Nothing New’ movement, a commitment that’s taken for one month to buy only secondhand, borrow or rent (apart from food, hygiene and medicines). The aim is to prevent impulsive buys, encourage conscious buying, reduce waste and, at the same time, prevent your home from becoming cluttered again!

Reading

Screen-free time

It seems to me that screen-free holidays are a lot harder to achieve than even 5 years ago, but when we have managed it, we’ve found ourselves playing cards or board games at night, lingering over dinner, and going for evening walks.  It also seems harder these days, even on holiday, to resist the urge to check emails, use social media and be distracted by notifications. Most of us use technology for work and are increasingly dependent on it outside – to check facts, communicate and navigate.  Apparently, up to 40% of Americans now spend more time socialising online than in real life. At night, many of us watch TV or Netflix or rent a movie. For most of us, the thought of going without screens for even 24 hours is a little bit scary. 

We know that over-exposure to social media can, paradoxically, make us less social and reduce our self-esteem. Too much screen time can also increase our risk of sleep disorders, make us overweight, distract us from more important tasks and reduce our involvement with our local community. We know this, yet it’s difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with screens.

Taking a day a week to unplug from screens is something I’ve been drawn to recently.  The idea is to be disciplined and switch off everything, and to use the 24 hours to do things like entertaining, cooking, gardening, meditating, reading, or just hanging out on a balcony. Years ago I read Susan Maushart’s very entertaining ‘The Winter of Our Disconnect’, where she banned herself and her family from using screens as an experiment. It makes an enlightening and thought-provoking read. Have you tried it? I’d love to hear how it went.

Head space

When we are released from the busy-ness of everyday life for a while, we have time to think. Holidays are often a time when something new appears – we have an interesting insight, we have the opportunity to talk to people outside our usual circle, and we notice our surroundings more. I guess this is our default state of mind once we remove stress – there is room for openness and creativity.

One way to help this state of mind become more part of our lives is to practice mindfulness. By taking a short time each day to actually practice it, we’re more likely to incorporate it into the rest of our day. A friend gave me a great technique to use on my daily walk. As you walk, spend time paying attention to each of your senses starting with sight, then move to hearing, smell, taste and touch and focus intensely on each sense in turn.  Or try a mindfulness guided meditation – I like The Mindful Movement but there are many to choose from.

Every day a holiday?

Is there something you do that makes your life simpler, calmer and more fulfilling, and more like a holiday? Is there an activity you have incorporated into your day that makes life less stressful? We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this. But for now, I’m going to turn off my computer.

Game Changing Plant Based Diets

Game Changing Plant Based Diets

Megan Garner | February 1, 2020

With all the buzz surrounding The Game Changers movie. Many people are questioning consuming meat and dairy and adopting plant based diets in the name of health. With this in mind let’s take a closer look into plant based diets and see if they are as healthy as The Game Changers make them out to be. In case you haven’t seen it yet, the Game Changers movie is available to watch on Netflix.

What IS a Plant-Based Diet? 

A plant based diet avoids animal products and foods made from animal products.

People have many reasons for choosing to follow a plant-based diet. Some reasons include health, allergies, the environment and animal welfare. I recommend a whole foods plant based diet, which means eating whole foods in their natural state.

Is a plant based diet nutritionally adequate? 

Research that has assessed the overall dietary intakes and nutritional status of plant based diets provides reassurance that well-planned vegan diets supply adequate nutrition (Davis & Melina, 2014). 

Generally, they contain greater amounts of iron, folate, thiamine, magnesium, potassium, manganese, fibre, beta-carotene, and vitamins B6, C and E than non-plant based diets (Davis & Melina, 2014).

However, they may contain lower amounts of zinc, iodine, calcium, selenium, riboflavin, and vitamins B12 and D. It is important that people following a plant based diet include reliable sources of these nutrients (Davis & Melina, 2014).

The bottom line is that animal products aren’t necessary for healthful and nutritionally adequate diets.

Can kids survive on a plant based diet? 

Yes, they can survive and thrive! 

Plant based diets have been approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who state “appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.

These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes” (Melina, Craig & Levin, 2016).

Your plant based diet should be based on whole foods 

Consuming whole foods in their natural state ensures you obtain more nutrients. For example an olive contains fibre, vitamins and minerals. Compared to olive oil which has been processed and had most of its nutrients stripped from it and is virtually 100% fat. 

A whole foods plant based diet also avoids the hidden nasties that manufacturers put in our foods. Including nasty additives, preservatives, artificial ingredients (the ones you can’t pronounce), sugar and sodium.

Not all processed foods are created equally. If you’re doing the processing at home – chopping, blending and cooking. You still know what is going into your food as opposed to commercially processed foods.

How to live optimally on plant based whole foods

Increase your intake of

    • fruits
    • vegetables
    • legumes – lentils, chickpeas, beans
    • wholegrains
    • nuts and seeds
    • spices
    • herbs

Avoid the following

    • meat
    • fish
    • dairy
    • eggs
    • honey
    • animal fats, butter
    • sugar
    • oils, including olive, corn, flaxseed, canola, coconut
    • processed and packaged food, except for ones containing only ingredients in increase list
    • limit salt

Focussing on adding more whole foods into your diet rather than focussing on eliminating foods from your diet will help you to transition towards this new lifestyle positively. The intent is to crowd out the processed foods with loads of goodness!

The health benefits of a whole food plant based diet

According to the 2010 WHO Global Status Report on Noncommunicable Diseases, the four primary causes of chronic diseases (63% of global deaths) are an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption (WHO, 2018). In other words majority of deaths are self inflicted and can be prevented.

Large studies in England and Germany showed that people who avoid meat were about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat eaters (Thorogood et al, 1994; Chang-Claude et al, 1992; Chang-Claude et al, 1993).

The World Health Organization has classified processed meats as a Group 1 carcinogen, which means that there is strong evidence that they cause cancer. Red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork has been classified as a ‘probable’ cause of cancer (International Agency for Research on Cancer – World Health Organisation, 2015).

Clinical research shows that dairy products have little or no benefit for bones. A 2005 review showed that milk consumption does not improve bone integrity in children (Lanou, 2005).

A WFPB diet has many health benefits and is the only diet that has been proven to reverse coronary heart disease and research has found a plant-based diet to be successful in treating type 2 diabetes. 

In summary, a balanced and varied vegan diet is safe and healthful, as long as energy needs are met as you follow a whole foods plant based diet you will have many health benefits.

If you are following or changing to a plant based diet, I recommend getting advice from a qualified Plant Based Nutritionist to ensure that your diet is nutritionally adequate and to prevent deficiencies. 

References

Chang-Claude, J., Frentzel-Beyme, R., & Eilber, U. (1992). Mortality Pattern of German Vegetarians after 11 Years of Follow-up. Epidemiology, 3(5), 395-401. doi: 10.1097/00001648-199209000-00003

CHANG-CLAUDE, J., & FRENTZEL-BEYME, R. (1993). Dietary and Lifestyle Determinants of Mortality among German Vegetarians. International Journal Of Epidemiology, 22(2), 228-236. doi: 10.1093/ije/22.2.228

Davis, B., & Melina, V. (2014). Becoming vegan. Summertown, Tenn.: Book Publishing.

International Agency for Research on Cancer – World Health Organization. (2015). IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat [Ebook]. Retrieved from https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf

Lanou, A. (2005). Calcium, Dairy Products, and Bone Health in Children and Young Adults: A Reevaluation of the Evidence. PEDIATRICS, 115(3), 736-743. doi: 10.1542/peds.2004-0548

Thorogood, M., Mann, J., Appleby, P., & McPherson, K. (1994). Risk of death from cancer and ischaemic heart disease in meat and non-meat eaters. BMJ, 308(6945), 1667-1670. doi: 10.1136/bmj.308.6945.1667

WHO | 2. Background. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/2_background/en/

Ditch the Dairy with This Easy Dairy Swaps Cheat Sheet!

Ditch the Dairy with This Easy Dairy Swaps Cheat Sheet!

Sharon Selby | January 13, 2020

Whether you’ve made a New Years resolution to cut back dairy, have decided to switch to vegan full-time, or are just looking to reduce your dairy load, you’ll find loads of awesome dairy swaps and recipes in this article to help you switch from dairy which still consuming nourishing whole foods.

To ensure you’re still meeting your calcium needs when making the switch look for plant-based foods which are high in calcium such as dark leafy greens and seeds like sesame, which can be consumed easily as tahini, and find opportunities to add these into your regular diet.

Do you have any swap ideas not mentioned here? Pop them in the comments!

Instead of Milk

Almond Milk

Try almond milk (or any other nut milk), coconut milk or rice milk from the supermarket. My favourite is almond milk, its rich in flavour and tastes great in cereals, puddings and even in my cuppa. It’s high in vitamin D and other important nutrients for that calcium replacement. You could also make your own, it literally takes 5 minutes and tastes delicious. Here’s the recipe.

Want an even easier low-waste option? Check out thes awesome nut-milk blends from Ulu Hye in the TWC store. They allow you to make just as much or as little as you need & are way less waste & more cost effective than purchasing UHT milks.

Instead of Cheese

Almond Feta

Whack on the avocado. When you are craving something creamy ditch the cheese and pile on the avo, with salt and pepper and a drizzle of EVOO.

I love avocados and will go through about 5 a week myself. Amazingly good for you, your skin, hair and nails thanks to the wonderful fats that keep you full for longer. Here is my favourite bread I make at home where a thick spread of avocado works wonders. Enjoy with a salad and boiled eggs and this will soon become one of your favourite lunches.

If you feel like you still need that extra cheesy hit try these amazing recipes from TWC:

Vegan almond feta
Wholefoods mac & cheese sauce

Instead of Butter

Peanut Butter

Use coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, peanut butter/nut butters and tahini.

Use coconut oil for sautéing, frying and roasting as well as olive oil on low heat. Ghee is great for scrambled eggs and sautéing onions and garlic in savory meals. Desserts can be made with coconut oil, tahini or peanut butter in most recipes. Here are some tasty snacks you might like: Nut free muesli bars, chocolate brownies and marvelous macaroons.  See, who needs butter to bake?

Instead of Cream

Pavlova Coconut Cream

Use coconut cream.

It’s lighter and fresher and perfect to pour over desserts. I whip up coconut cream and use that instead of thickening cream when I make Pavlova. I also like coconut milk to make custards as well. Try this delicious Coconut caramel custard from Quirky Cooking, when you fancy a smooth creamy treat after dinner.

Instead of Cheese Dips

Cheese Dips

Make your dips more diverse!

There’s hummus, of course, but there are also so many other options using white beans and olive oil as base, as well as pestos. Try these recipes for an alternative twist that will get any party started.

GOTTA have that cheesy dip taste? Try these tasty options from the TWC blog:
Cheesy vegan hot pots
Vegan cheese dip

And some more dips for good measure:
French onion dip, beetroot hummus, spicy pumpkin dip

Instead of Ice Cream & Yoghurt

Ice cream

Instead of ice cream and yoghurt – blend in frozen fruit with bananas.
Try this gorgeous nourishing berry mouse, that will love you back. Smooth and deliciously creamy.
Check out these other alternatives from TWC, too!

Frozen Mango Macadamia Bars
Lime Coconut Popsicles
Mango Passionfruit Nice Cream
Chocolate Berry Ice Pops
Chocolate Coated Caramel Nice Cream Bars
Choco Cherry Nice Cream Bowl
Peanut Butter & Jam Protein Nice Cream Bowl

 

Instead of Parmesan

Nutritional Yeast

Check out nutritional yeast. This is my only fancy product on here. I use it on top of spag bol, risotto, casseroles and popcorn and it does the trick. It’s also high in B vitamins so a great nutritional boost to boot! Haven’t heard of it…check out the details here and add some to your next order with TWC!

Find more delicious, nutritious recipes, healthy eating articles, courses and classes on Sharon’s website, Deliciously Allergy Free.

How to Keep Your Skin Healthy This Summer – Sunscreen, Diet & Skin Care Products!

How to Keep Your Skin Healthy This Summer – Sunscreen, Diet & Skin Care Products!

Marion O'Leary | January 5, 2020

With the onset of summer and the inevitable increase in exposure of our skin to the sun’s rays, it’s worth considering how to take the best care of our skin while still making the most of all that summer has to offer.

What’s So Damaging About Sunlight?

Our skin is damaged by an excess of the ultraviolet (UV) wavelength of sunlight. The early visible effect of excessive UV exposure is sunburn, which is the inflammatory response triggered by UV light. While sunburn is visible, the changes going on in the deeper layers are not. UV light can damage our skin’s DNA, sometimes irreparably. It also triggers the generation of oxidative molecules (free radicals) that can damage our collagen, elastin and other structures in the skin, as well as our skin’s DNA. When skin DNA is damaged, we increase our risk of developing skin cancers, while damage to collagen, elastin and our skin’s matrix will speed up our skin’s ageing. To complicate matters, UV light can reduce our skin’s ability to mount an effective immune response, further raising the risk of developing skin cancers.

How Does Our Skin Protect Itself?

Our skin has built-in mechanisms that protect it to some extent from the harmful effects of UV light.  Firstly, our cells can repair damaged DNA. Secondly, our skin contains melanin, which is very efficient at absorbing UV light. And finally, it contains antioxidants that can neutralise the free radicals that damage the skin, however these are depleted following exposure to UV light.

So, How Can We Boost Our Skin’s Natural Defences?

Sunscreen

1. Sunscreen

When we really can’t avoid exposing our skin to the sun, sunscreen is our first line of defence. There are two types of sunscreen. Physical sunscreens, made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which protect the skin by reflecting, scattering and absorbing UV light. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, directly absorb UV light and convert it to heat energy. 

While physical sunscreens are generally considered safe, there are concerns about the safety of chemical sunscreens. Some of the active ingredients in chemical sunscreens can be absorbed into the body to the extent that they can be detected in blood, urine and breast milk. Yet their safety is still unproven. Of particular concern is oxybenzone, a common ingredient in chemical sunscreens, which may have hormonal effects (1).  A number of ingredients commonly included in chemical sunscreens, including oxybenzone and octinoxate, are also potentially damaging to coral reefs. In some parts of the world – Hawaii, Palau and Key West – sunscreens containing reef-damaging chemicals are banned, however no such ban exists in Australia. Unfortunately, because chemical sunscreens are more ‘invisible’ than physical sunscreens, they are far more popular. 

We believe the personal convenience of chemical sunscreens is not worth the risk to our health or that of the environment. When asked by our customers, we recommend choosing a certified organic sunscreen that uses non nano zinc oxide as its active ingredient.

Diet

2. Diet

Our skin contains natural antioxidants, and to some extent these protect our skin against free radical damage caused by UV light. So it makes sense that consuming a diet extra rich in antioxidants could make our skin even more resilient to the damaging effects of UV. However this is not always the case.

We looked at the benefits of increasing dietary antioxidants – vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols, all of which are found in many commonly consumed fruit and vegetables

It seems that increasing our vitamin C intake has no real protective effect, at least when consumed in its synthetic form. In the study we looked at, oral vitamin C supplements were given at a dose that raised both blood and skin levels of vitamin C. However no additional UV protective effect was seen. This was surprising, because vitamin C is known to be an important protector against UV light in the skin. 

In contrast, diets rich in carotenoids did have benefits, in particular lycopene and lutein, which are abundant in tomatoes. However a minimum of 12 weeks supplementation at a fairly high dose (around 55g tomato paste per day) was required to show a protective effect.

The polyphenol antioxidant found in green tea, and flavonoid-rich cacao powder were also effective – they reduced the size of sunburn after UV irradiation (2, 3).

Interestingly, many of these studies have looked at supplementing the diet with a single substance, sometimes synthetic. It may be that consuming a plant-based diet rich in a range of antioxidants, including sufficient quantities of proven protectants like green tea, cocoa and tomatoes, will have additive and synergistic effects, offering extra UV protection.

Skin Care

3. Skin Care Products

Applying antioxidants directly to the skin is another means of protecting the skin against UV damage. A range of studies have given interesting results.

Application of vitamin E directly to the skin was found to be protective. Vitamin E seems to exert its protective effect on the skin both through its antioxidant activity and by directly absorbing UV light.

Another promising study showed that applying green tea polyphenols gave protection against UV-induced damage (4). 

Although it is well established that consumption of carotenoids can help protect the skin against UV, the effect of topical application of carotenoids has not been studied.  However, we can make some assumptions from a couple of findings. Firstly, topically applied beta-carotene is known to be readily absorbed into the skin and converted to the active form of vitamin A (5).  In addition, where infra-red light was used to generate free radicals in the skin, the application of a cream containing beta-carotene protected the skin from free radical formation. (6). Therefore it seems likely that applying carotenoid-rich products to the skin will boost the skin’s antioxidant levels and protect against free radicals from UV light in the same way it protects from free radical production by infra-red light.

Vitamin C  is another substance that has been shown to be protective against UV, and also to stimulate production of collagen in the dermis. So to some extent vitamin C can both protect from UV damage and help repair the damage caused by UV light. The difficulty for skin care manufacturers is to deliver the active, water-soluble form of vitamin C at the low pH that allows its absorption. To make things more difficult, the water-soluble form of vitamin C loses its activity after a few weeks in an aqueous solution, and is readily degraded by light. Much work is continuing to find a way to deliver an active, usable form of vitamin C to the skin.

Which Mokosh Products Can Help?

All Mokosh moisturisers, as well as our Makeup Remover & Cleansing Oil,  contain vitamin E, carotenoids, and other antioxidants including polyphenols. Our Facial Cleanser, Exfoliator & Mask, once activated by mixing with water, is also rich in antioxidants, and contains the active form of vitamin C. 

We believe that the regular application of our products will help maintain good levels of these important antioxidants in the skin. In addition, after a day in the sun, when your skin’s levels of antioxidants will be depleted, application of our products should help replenish their levels, counteracting some of the damaging effects of UV light. Another strategy would be to apply our moisturisers before going into the sun, and before applying sunscreen, so that your skin will receive a boost of antioxidants before it is exposed to UV light. 

In addition, our products contain natural anti-inflammatory molecules that can help soothe the inflammation of sunburn, while their good levels of essential fatty acids can help rebuild the skin’s barrier function (read more about this here).

However, as most health professionals would say, prevention is better than the cure. Avoiding the sun when UV levels are at their highest should be a priority. When you can’t avoid the sun, be sure to wear protective clothing and sunscreen. Apply antioxidant-rich, well formulated products to your skin, and eat a really good diet, rich in fruit and vegetables. Your skin, like the rest of your body, will thank you for it!

Shop the full Mokosh range, including sample & mini sizes, here.

References

  1. https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24964816#
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326796078_Antioxidants_from_Plants_Protect_against_Skin_Photoaging
  4. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2014/860479/#B29
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8377767_Topical_b-carotene_is_converted_to_retinyl_esters_in_human_skin_ex_vivo_and_mouse_skin_in_vivo
  6. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1600-0625.2010.01191.x
Your Christmas Recipe Round-Up

Your Christmas Recipe Round-Up

Laini Oldfield | December 7, 2019

To bring festive delight to your Christmas table this year, feast your eyes on this collection of recipe goodness that won’t leave you needing a Christmas afternoon siesta, or needing to undo those waist buttons!

Christmas Breakfast

Christmas breakfast… The meal of the day that often gets the least thought, right? Take all the hassle out of Christmas morning with these easy and light brekkie recipes.

Christmas Nibbles

Christmas Feast

Yes, it’s possible for your holiday feast to be healthy, whole, yummy and easy.

Christmas Desserts

Christmas Gift Ideas

Thoughtful and creative Christmas gifts? We got you covered.

‘Homemade’: 14 Recipes for Festive Foodie Gifts for your loved ones
(It’ll open in Messenger – just click ‘Get Started’ or follow the prompts)

Have a Merry Wholefood Christmas!

Healthy Christmas Puddings for the Festive Season

Healthy Christmas Puddings for the Festive Season

Kate Parker | November 5, 2019
 
Whether making the Christmas pud is a tradition you carry through every year, or this year is your first year to make one from scratch, you’ll love these gorgeous recipes we’ve rounded up for you!

Don’t forget to add the TWC ingredients to your cart, we’ve linked them each up under the recipes to make your shop just that little bit easier!
 
 

Healthy Chef – Healthy Baked Christmas Pudding

This baked & steamed pudding by Terea Cutter is packed with beautiful dried fruits and naturally gluten-free. Yum!
 
From the TWC pantry you’ll need:
 
 

Healthy Christmas Pudding

Anisa Sabet’s Christmas Pudding is a gorgeous gluten-free & dairy free pudding, and made in family friendly individual serves!
 
 
From the TWC pantry you’ll need:
 
 

Fruity Christmas Pudding

Healthy Jon’s pudding is a light & fruity healthy version of Christmas pudding made with almond meal & spelt. 
 

From the TWC pantry you’ll need:
medjool dates
raisins 
apricots
cranberries
cinnamon
nutmeg
ground cloves
maple syrup
coconut oil
almond meal
spelt flour

 

Raw Vegan Christmas Pudding

Pete Evans’ version is a raw, paleo foodie version, for the super clean-conscious! 

 
From the TWC pantry you’ll need:
 
 
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