A warm, decadent and dense dessert all made in the microwave and without any refined sugar? Um, yes please!
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp granulated sweetener e.g. xylitol or
1 1/2 Tbsp heavy cream, coconut cream* or
1 1/2 Tbsp water
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped dark chocolate of choice
In a microwave-safe mug (that holds at least 250 ml of liquid) add cocoa powder, coconut flour, baking powder and sweetener. Mix with a small whisk or fork to break up any clumps and mix until evenly combined. Add in heavy cream, water and oil. Whisk until batter is smooth. Sprinkle surface with dark chocolate. Cook brownie in the microwave at full power for about 60-80 seconds. For a fudgier brownie, keep cooking time closer to 60 seconds. Allow brownie to cool a few minutes before eating. Brownie is best eaten warm. Top with chopped chocolate and nuts, whipped cream or fresh fruit.
Swap out the chicken for steak or try using mushrooms for a vegetarian alternative.
2 chicken breasts or any protein of choice
1 Tbsp oil
Jalapeno, chopped (according to taste) OR 1/2
tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder and cumin
1 cup quinoa, or brown rice cooked
1 cup lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. salsa
2 Tbsp cheese of choice, grated
Lime wedge for serving
Preheat grill or a large frying pan to medium-high. Combine jalapenos, oil, garlic powder and cumin in a small bowl. Oil the grill rack or frying pan. Season chicken with salt. Grill the chicken for 5 mins. Turn, brush with the jalapeno mixture and continue cooking, 3 to 5 mins more or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a clean cutting board. Chop into bite-size pieces. Assemble each burrito bowl with ½ cup quinoa, ½ cup chicken, ½ cup lettuce, ¼ tomatoes, ¼ cup beans, ¼ avocado, 1 Tbsp salsa and 1 Tbsp cheese. Serve with a lime wedge.
Don’t skip the egg yolks! Egg yolks are a nutritional powerhouse packed full of feel-full and brain boosting compounds.
2 eggs and 1 egg white, lightly beaten
Splash of milk* of choice (omit for Paleo)
Fillings of choice: choose 1 from each
Protein (40 g) : ham, chicken, bacon etc.
Fat: 6 olives, 1/2 avocado, 30 g cheese* etc.
Vegetable: tomato, rocket, spinach, mushroom etc. (unlimited)
1 tsp oil/butter for cooking
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together the milk and eggs and season with salt and pepper. Heat an oiled pan over medium heat, pour the egg mixture in and swirl to coat evenly. Allow to set for +/- 3 mins. Add the filling ingredients onto half on the omelette and fold over. Cook for a further 1-2 mins and serve. *Omit any dairy for Paleo.
When I talk to other people about yoga, more often than not I get a response similar to this – ‘I would love to try it but I’m just SO inflexible!’. And while I try my best trying to explain that this truly doesn’t matter, it doesn’t help that every picture we see online or in social media of ‘the modern yogi’ is someone doing the splits, or folding themselves like a pretzel.
There are enough ways we all judge ourselves and compare against others. And yoga isn’t another form of exercise we do to hopefully, one day, feel better about ourselves. Doing the perfect headstand, or a perfect backbend is not the end goal. And even if it was, it wouldn’t guarantee that we love ourselves anymore.
As Judith Lasatar so aptly says – ‘Yoga is not about touching your toes, it is what we learn on the way down’.
But what exactly are we learning when we show up on our mat to practice?
Yoga is an inward journey
Let’s take a step back and remember that the practice of yoga is believed to date back over 5,000 years. It truly is an ancient discipline, that was practiced to cultivate a strong and supple body so that one could be able to sit still in meditation for long periods. Having a strong core, supple spine and open hips was necessary to ensure the body stayed relaxed and comfortable, without being a disturbance or distraction.
The ultimate goal for the Yogi was to be still. To be able to master their mind, achieve inner peace, and ultimately – enlightenment.
Western culture has glorified the physical practice, yet the heart of yoga remains – as a tool to guide us on an inward journey so we can find true harmony within ourselves.
In our fast-paced, distracted modern lives, wouldn’t it be a joy to interact with people who are calm, centered, and present? Who can navigate all changes and challenges from a place of grounding?
Lessons from the mat
Each time you step onto your mat, you show up for yourself. Although yoga is often practiced among a group of people, it is very much an individual practice. The focus is within your four corners of your mat. As you move silently, you are guided to tune into the sensations of your body and to move with intention. Where the body goes, the mind follows, and so by focusing and controlling the physical self, we, in turn, can experience calm and ease in our thinking mind.
Yoga means to ‘yoke or unite’. What are we uniting? Our body and our mind, through a focus on our breath.
Every moment on your mat is a time to tune in and connect. In building strength through movement, we cultivate a stronger sense of self. As we stretch and lengthen our bodies, we also learn to expand our mindfulness and awareness. It is an all-encompassing practice that leads us on a path to our true self.
And while we may not achieve enlightenment like few of those ancient yogis, with a real commitment to our practice, the lessons we learn on our mat impact who we become off our mat, and we begin to show up in our lives with greater compassion, empathy, self-acceptance, and joy!
A journey begins with a single step
If touching your toes is no longer a reason to hold you back, the only next step is to decide to start. I have a range of pre-recorded videos to follow along, for free, in the comfort of your own home. There’s something for everyone including beginner classes, guided meditations, yin, vinyasa, and more.
Whatever you decide, the joy is in the journey. You can start yours today.
Self-love is the concept of loving yourself as you would love others. It is the practice of taking care of your mind and spirit with compassion that benefits your overall mental well being.
Self-love differs from self-care in the sense that self-love is about the internal dialogue and relationship that we have with ourselves. Self-care is nurturing our physical selves. The two often cross paths and we’ll give you a heads up when they do in this blog.
Unless you axed your social media away before everybody watched the Social Dilemma, you’ll have seen the swarms of posts about self-love routines and rituals: the bubble baths, face masks and movie nights. Which rock, don’t get us wrong, but they don’t offer the sustainability that consistent and intentional self-love habits and practices do.
The popularization of self-love isn’t a bad thing – the more people who learn to love themselves, the better – but the definitions and acts of self-love have become a bit superficial and one-size-fits-all-ish. You’ve got to find what makes you feel good, no matter what that looks like. We believe in the habits that make the foundation of who we are, and our self-love practices are essential to how we grow and heal.
If self-love sounds a little corny to you, let’s get into why it’s so important. When you treat yourself badly or even just neglect your basic needs and wants, you are setting yourself up to make poor decisions. Without having a solid foundation of love and respect for yourself, you are more susceptible to toxic relationships, negative self-talk and poor health.
Here’s how you can create a life that is led by the love you give to yourself.
Ritual and Routine
Having self-love routines and rituals plays a huge role in cementing the idea of loving yourself into your daily life. The way you start your day sets the tone for the next 9 hours or so, and that’s why a powerful place to make time for a ritual is as you wake. This ritual may look like prayer, movement, writing or meditation. It may also be in the details of what you don’t do: check your phone, regret the past or get into a state about the future.
These rituals and routines are here to keep your mind clear and your thoughts in the present and consistency comes in handy on the days it feels a little hard to love yourself.
Here’s what we had to say a few weeks ago about mastering meditation and how to develop your emotional awareness and cultivate mental clarity.
Be far kinder to your body
That means fueling your body well and more importantly, speaking to your body well.
Your body is a vessel for everything that is the mind-blowingly fantastic you. The stuff that matters: your heart, your soul, your mind and your character. All a body does is bring these things into the physical world and yet we still find ourselves using such unkind language towards ourselves when we look in the mirror. Being grateful and accepting of your physical body is a worthwhile route to take.
You may even have to fake it for a while and that’s okay because eventually, you’ll believe in what you are telling yourself. Kind things to start saying today could be:
Do you see how you aren’t saying what you will or can do? You need to speak these thoughts as if they are already happening, rewiring your brain to think this way without making a huge effort to do so.
Believe in something
Before you panic, this blog isn’t about to turn into a cult recruitment advertisement.
But seriously, as humans in a material world, becoming detached from the spiritual side of life could be why so many people battle to find love for themselves. Finding solace in spiritual practice can bring an abundance of love into your life. Maybe you’re religious, maybe you choose to believe in the inherent goodness of mankind or just really believe in the power of having a huge dance party.
Having a set of beliefs and values will cement your sense of knowing yourself and ultimately, loving yourself. When we see the divine around us, it’s hard to ignore the divine within us.
Say no – and also say yes
People who love themselves respect their limits and boundaries. This means saying no when you mean no and not feeling guilty about it. When people are battling with their self-love journey, the thought of pleasing somebody else at the expense of violating yourself will seem justifiable and we’re here to tell you, it very rarely is. Say no when you feel that niggling feeling in your sternum because that’s your intuition speaking – you would be wise to listen.
In the same breath, self-love means saying a big old YES to the things you deserve. So many of us reject opportunities and experiences because deep down, we aren’t certain that we deserve them. Knowing that you are a good person at your core and that you deserve the blessings that come your way is inseparable from self-love.
Do the things you’re good at
Remind yourself at least once a week of what you’re good at – and that doesn’t mean doing what you’re paid to do or doing what you think you should be good at. Don’t spend too much time overthinking this activity because the best part? Nobody even has to know.
Take this as a rare opportunity to enjoy your talents for you and not for the pleasure or praise of other people. Sing for yourself, dance for yourself, talk with an elderly person for yourself. Acting on our strengths validates our purpose in this life. It gently reminds us that we are here for a reason and that whilst we are here we need to value, love and nurture ourselves.
Sure, there was a weird “is the world going to end” moment that had libidos soaring through the roof. But, when our bodies are stressed and fatigued, getting turned on may be last on your bodies to-do-list. Here’s what to add to your shopping list to boost your libido when you need it.
At the risk of starting on a dramatic note, we’re talking about two incredibly important things: food and sex. Two massive pillars of humanity surviving and getting this far, obviously. More than being essential to our existence, they appear again as being two huge pillars in how we experience pleasure and expression.
It isn’t surprising then, that the two would have such a great effect on one another.
Eat well to love well
We hate to break it to you – but aphrodisiacs aren’t all oysters and rhino horn. Eating for better sex doesn’t need to look so different from eating for health. A good rule of thumb? If it’s good for your heart and the way that oxygen moves through your body, it’s going to improve the way sex feels for you and your partner.
The foods we’re going to touch on are naturally good for you because of the energy that they provide, the way they let blood move around your body and the hormones they release to get those good feelings going. So what’s on the menu?
Clams and Oysters (B12)
I know we said it wasn’t all about the fancy food, but clams and oysters are a fun delicacy to incorporate into your diet for special occasions. One serving of clams has enough B12 to kickstart your evening and for good reason: B12 deficiency is one of the leading reasons behind erectile dysfunction. Clams are packed with an amino acid called L-arginine. L-arginine, once in the body, converts to nitric oxide which then increases blood flow around the body and to the places where blood flow is needed during sex; your nerve endings, genitalia and erogenous zones.
Fatty Fish (Omega 3)
Incorporating some fatty fish like fresh salmon into your dinner menu or breakfast bagel is going to get your system prepped with all the energy you need to have good, zesty sex. Fish is a great source for the macro-nutrient, Omega 3 which combats fatigue like you wouldn’t believe. Do your body a favour.
The thing about eating for better sex is that you’re going to want to be eating things that really benefit the way that your body functions. Cue: leafy greens. Incorporating iron-rich foods like spinach, broccoli, are going to do wonders for your body because of how magnesium dense the plants are. Magnesium boosts blood flow, helping sex to feel better and last longer.
Enhancing your climax is one of the reasons people turn to asparagus when they want a sex-improving diet. This veggie contains histamine which helps to promote more intense orgasms amidst a whole resume of benefits for health and wellbeing in your everyday life.
Fun fact: in 19th century France, three courses of this phallic vegetable were served to newlyweds to promote a sense of longing for one another. How considerate.
Skip the Valentines Day quick-fix
The day comes with the pressure to perform and before you know it you’ve loaded your cart with sparkling wines you can’t pronounce, lubricants you’re scared to use (what ingredient causes a fire sensation on purpose?) and more milk chocolate than you know what to do with.
There absolutely is a time and place for quick-fix sexy foods. These are foods that feel sensual to eat (you know the ones we mean: juicy fruits and velvety sauces). It’s when you lose yourself in how crazy good that tastes and the happiness hormones do the rest for you: we love those moments and we hope you have plenty of them! What if, though, you could have that fire in your belly beyond the month of February?
Top tip: sugar (in chocolate and alcohol) before sex is only going to make you exhausted before you even begin. Skip the cortisol spikes and wait for the natural endorphins to kick in.
What this should drive home is how sex and food don’t need to be a one-weekend quick fix to getting intimate with your partner. When you look after your body, the rest looks after itself.
If you haven’t already succumbed to the Valentines rush or your purchases have left you wanting, maybe we could interest you in a more sustainable approach to making sure you’re up for it even when you don’t have time to prep the champaign and chocolate. We believe that better habits make for a well-rounded life, and we like to help people get there. Pop onto our socials or click here to read more about what we do and how to get started!
With burnout on the rise and boundaries becoming more blurred by the week, it’s time for a re-evaluation. Sure, hard work has always been something to be admired but at the end of the tired, overthinking mess of a day, what are we really glorifying here, openly speaking?
Technology has flipped the switch on work-life balance, giving colleagues constant access to you and tempting you to be always available. We don’t need physical offices to get our jobs done anymore, so the excuses for not being able to get something done in record time seem to wither. Imagine though, if excuses weren’t necessary and a certain, polite, “no, I don’t have time for that”, would suffice?
Have you ever been in a work environment where you’ve had to do the ‘appropriate leaving time’ walk of shame to your car? Or perhaps you’ve felt a surge of anxiety turning off the active status on your remote digital communication platform long after the sun has gone down. The grind. The hustle. The boss babe (is there a reason “boss” doesn’t work just as well?). We live in a whirlwind of buzzwords that remind us that success means zero downtime, toxic productivity and ultimately, a personal life so overrun by work that health, family and joy start to fall by the wayside.
Without sounding alarmist, something needs to change. Collectively, there needs to be an unpacking of how it came to be acceptable for our mental health to be compromised by what we do for a living.
Boundaries, who needs them?
You. You do. And so does everybody else.
Taking your mental health seriously is the first on the agenda. To a fair few people, mental health still seems like this figment of our imagination and we do wonder sometimes, does it really deserve the attention you need/want to give it?
It absolutely does. You’ll see that when you take your mental health seriously, you’ll know where boundaries fit in and why they are so valuable.
Setting, implementing and upholding your boundaries
Boundaries are established after you’ve done some deep digging on what you will and won’t allow from the people around you. You need them in all spheres of your life to maintain your limits. Boundaries could be letting your mother know she can’t Facetime you at her whim twice a day or that you won’t tolerate possessive behaviour from your partner.
When we speak about work boundaries, in particular, we are speaking about the prepared, quick-defence (but not defensive) systems you have in place for situations that bring on pushing past what you are willing to do for your work.
Firstly, figure it out
You can’t implement what you don’t know and you certainly can’t expect anybody to read your mind about what boundaries you have in place. Know what you value and where your time needs to be spent and where. If you value family and health and pottery, you’ll know that your boundaries need to protect these parts of your life.
Find out where you are being stretched thin and where your work is leaking into valuable time. Pinpoint what elements of your work-life that trigger anxiety or anger and have a solid understanding of what needs to change.
Say what you mean and mean what you say
Once you’ve figured out what your boundaries are, they need to be communicated. This doesn’t mean mumbling to your colleagues about your boss during your lunch break (which was cut short by a meeting that went on for too long). It means respectfully letting your work peers know what a) you’re comfortable with, b) why these boundaries are important and c) what the outcome of broken boundaries will be. Damn.
If workplace dynamics interest you, check out our thoughts on how to bring wellness into the workplace: 5 easy, effective ways to boost productivity & employee happiness
What can work boundaries sound like?
In case you need some inspiration on how to say what you need to say (with conviction) here’s how stating your boundaries may sound:
“Yes, I also think being on top of work emails is important and they will always be answered by 10 am Monday. On the weekends, however, I prioritise unplugging and won’t be available.”
“This is not something I want to talk about at work, if we could avoid bringing it up again I would appreciate it.”
“I have a hard stop on meetings that run over 5:30 on Wednesdays and Fridays, so if we could start with the essentials that would be great.”
Emotional responses vs steadfast explanations
Saying those sentences out loud might sound abrupt at first if you are somebody who has been conditioned to people please or in the case of many minorities in the workplace, pressured to be polite and amiable. Boundaries are not rude or catty or self-righteous, they are healthy and logical limits to protect yourself. Abruptness is not a bad thing, it just means that we have taken time to evaluate and cement where our values and comfort zones are – so we don’t need to waste 1000 words explaining ourselves. When we become emotional stating our boundaries we risk being defensive or overexplaining something that needs little explanation.
Somebody is going to push a boundary, expect that to happen. When it does, you will have unpacked and prepared for how to deal with that situation and you’re going to feel better for it. Mastering your emotional awareness and sense of clarity is something you can build into your daily routine (we unpack that in our blog here).
Boundaries are Self-Care
We’re going to be talking a lot about self-love for the next few weeks and best believe mental health is high up on the agenda.
This February, let’s dig a little deeper than sugar and synthetic teddies for Valentines Day. Let’s look into real self-love that lets you think well and work well. For each time you say “no” to something that doesn’t align with your values, you learn to trust yourself a little more. Living your life in line with what makes you happy and letting go of expectations and worries about the behaviour of people is one heck of a way to love yourself. Join in on the love and come check out our Instagram page to keep up to date with our conversations about life, love, wellness and food (heck yes).