Why do we eat?

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I love food! I love the smell, the taste, its appearance… but most of all I love the way food brings together families, friends and loved ones. Because of todays busy society, its often we forget to be present whilst eating. How many times a day do you think you eat completely unconsciously? Simply put I have a deep belief in the importance of sitting down, being present, enjoying, sharing and LOVING your food. It’s something that I’m personally trying to work on as I’ve noticed eating has become something that I just do rather than experience.

It has become more common amongst society to eat ‘on the go’ or to be doing something whilst eating e.g. reading, scanning through social media feeds, driving, walking, talking on the phone. It’s like our eating time has become our ‘eat and get things done’ time.

To explain where I’m going with this I think it’s important to go back to the basic question of which I believe a lot of people have forgotten the answer to, that is… why do we eat? In my opinion, food is for survival, enjoyment, health and wellbeing. Really thinking about food, what it is to you and the value you have in eating and sharing a meal can be an amazing way of re connecting to what you are consuming and therefore the effect it has on your body and wellbeing.

Taking it back to the simple rules of a family dinner…

You may or may not be familiar with these but these are the rules I was surrounded with in my own and my friends homes growing up.

1. Everyone one must sit around the dinner table

2. The table must be set

3. Everyone must help contribute to the meal

4. No phones at the dinner table

5. TV must be switched off

6. Gratitude and appreciation must be given to everyone who contributed to the meal.

These rule basically go back to simply being present, appreciative and respectful at the dinner table and therefore enjoying each and every mouthful with your loved ones.

To me rule one represents the enjoyment, celebration and unity food creates in society. Food tastes SO much better when cooked by a loved one, with a loved one or eaten and enjoyed alongside a loved one. Rule two represents how setting the table tells your body and mind that you’re about to eat and therefore reminding yourself to be present. Rule three again reconnects us to sharing a meal, putting love into the meal as well as helping to unite as a family or a group. Rules four and five are the teenagers worst nightmare, but again take it back to being respectful to your loved ones, sharing a meal, creating engagement in the conversations at the table and spending quality time together. Rule 6 to me is a HUGE deal. This is in no way a religious thing more so just paying respect to where your food came from, who prepared it, farmed it and paid for it. What it is that your eating and the nutritional goodness and benefits that it will serve your body and mind.

Chew your food, smell your food, observe your food, taste the different ingredients in your food… completely finish and swallow one mouthful before you begin the next, feel and observe the different textures and flavors as you eat. I can guarantee physically and mentally you will feel SO much better and food will become a heck of a lot more enjoyable.

 

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A banana, mulberry and blueberry raw cheesecake

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A banana, mulberry and blueberry raw cheesecake 

Recipe:

Base

1/2 a cup of activated almonds

1/2 a cup of walnuts

1 and 1/2 cups of dried dates

•blend all together until sticky and blended evenly and press into the bottom of a cake tin… Lined with baking paper, place in freezer.



Filling

1 cup of soaked cashews

1 cup of frozen blueberries

1 frozen banana

300 ml of coconut cream or coconut milk

1/2 a cup of mulberries

2 tsp of coconut nectar

•blend all together until creamy and evenly blended. Pour onto base and put back in the freezer to set for 1-2 hours. Remove from freezer for 5 minutes before serving. YUM!
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Peruvian adventures

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Peruvian adventures

Back drops that look like they’ve been painted, long limbed cactuses adding a splash of green to the grey but stunning desert and lefts that leave you with leg burns and jelly arms by the time you’ve caught a wave and paddled back out the back. What a mystical, beautiful and interesting country.

My trip was short lived, only a quick 10 days but I think the only time we sat down was for meals and to sleep. With how much we got done and how many amazing new people we were lucky enough to meet, I felt as though we were there for at least a month.

Our first stop was to Huanchacho, Trujillo. It’s a beautiful small coastal town, with a long left hand point break, which was peaky and playful.

The first day we were there I ran a cooking class for a few mothers of the children from Milagros, a volunteer educational center created to give the kids the opportunity to learn English in a fun way and to give them a better chance in the future. A project which Choclo is supporting this year.

It was a huge challenge for me as the women did not speak any Enlgish and my Spanish vocabulary extends as far as Ohla (hello) and Amigos (friend… I think). Luckily I had a Spanish translator, but it was hard to know how much information was lost or gained within the translation.
My aim was basically to get them to incorporate more vegetables into their own and their beautiful children’s diet… I cooked vegetarian “hamburgers”, which was basically sweet potato and quinoa burgers coated in sesame seeds with a mango and avocado side salad and a lettuce leaf “bun”. I also wanted to create awareness as to how blessed and lucky they are to have such amazing super foods readily available to them in their country of which Australia, America and I’m sure other countries are having to import. So I made a chia pudding and boosted it with super foods including coconut and coconut water, yacon syrup and maca powder.

The mothers were really interactive with me, asking questions, tasting the food and having a laugh every now and again… although I had no idea what they were laughing about I persisted to smile and laugh as if I were completely in the know. I felt as though I gave them a sense of the possibility of cooking with fruit and vegetables and showed that it doesn’t have to be boring and unsatisfying. One mother made a comment that she “can’t even taste the vegetables” and “it smells like meat”… so I’m going to take them as subtle but definite compliments J.

Next on the agenda was my trip to visit the beautiful Jaime Wilfredo Munoz Diaz. If you have not yet heard of Jaime he is a 16 year old boy, living in Peru with cystic fibrosis. His Mum noticed he had breathing problems as a bub and took him to get checked. He was then diagnosed falsely with asthma and dust allergies and his condition continued to get worse with the medicine having no success in relieving his symptoms. In the end of 2012, after many painful tests and visits from the doctor he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis is a autosomal recessive genetic disorder that affects most critically the lungs but also the pancreas, liver and intestine. Difficulty breathing is the most serious symptom, which results from frequent lung infections being treated with antibiotics and other medications.
Jaime is a 16 year old in the body of a 7 year old. He is tiny, his organs are not as evolved as they should be and he is extremely thin and weak. He is now connected to an oxygen tank 24/7 of which is costing him 100 soles a day (about $50) and half of his heart has stopped working.

The Choclo Project have been supporting Jaime for a while now and I was told whilst visiting that if it wasn’t for their generous and continuous support, Jaime may not be alive today.

I was so excited to meet him and was blown away with his beautiful, cheeky, and loving energy. We both couldn’t speak one another’s language but he still managed to consistently make me smile. He is an extremely artistic and talented boy. Jaime showed me his art journal and I was blown away with the vibrance and creativity of each of his pieces. As he was such a talented perfectionist I was slightly intimidated but I did a couple of drawings with him and gave him some new journals and Posca pens to encourage his creative outlet. I left feeling really frustrated that such a beautiful, young and incredible boy can be so restricted in his way of living and can be suffering to an extent of which no one would understand. I please encourage anyone to follow this link http://www.gofundme.com/3xzxhc and donate any amount to help give Jaime a better and easier chance at life. And if anything… just a little more time to live his creative and talented dreams.

After visiting Jaime, we went just down the road to visit the school Milagros. Another part of the trip that completely blew my mind… such a simple yet effective and amazing system and set up. Run completely by volunteers… the school was created by the inspiring Coco Rim Amad (Jaime’s main supporter) who moved from Sweden, leaving behind her job as a lawyer and setting up this incredible school for all the local children after she was dissatisfied with what she had seen of the school systems when she first arrived in the area.

The school day started with meditation. We all sat down outside, instructed to put our hand over our eyes and listen to the music played to us. There was a lot of energy buzzing in the little ones but when asked what noises they heard in the music they all gave at least one answer and immediately seemed more focused and relaxed. What an incredible way to begin the school day… if only we had these sort of systems in our local schools. The beautiful kids then ran off to their allocated classes and it was then time for me to very reluctantly leave and catch my plane to the next part of my Peruvian adventure.

After our inspiring and eye opening time in Huanchacho, I left feeling so blessed and happy that I had the opportunity to meet the kids, Jaime, Coco, the other volunteers, share my knowledge on nutrition, surf some incredible waves and to have done a trip that wasn’t purely for my own experience but to give and enjoy something completely different.
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Raspberry, macadamia and coconut bites

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IMG_0620Base
•80g dried dates
•80g macadamias
•70g almonds
•20g shredded coconut
•20g cocoa nibs
•1 tbsp coconut oil

Blend all together and shape to the bottom of cupcake tins lined with cupcake patties or with coconut oil and place into the freezer.

Coconut cream layer
•100g soaked raw macadamias
•20g shredded coconut
•200ml coconut milk
•1 tbsp of coyo (optional)
•1 tsp creamed coconut (optional)
•4 dried dates

Blend all together and pour evenly onto pre prepared bases. Place back into freezer until set.

Raspberry cream layer

Repeat same as coconut cream layer but add in one cup of frozen raspberries. Smoothly layer on top of coconut layer and place into freezer for 2 hours or until set. Top with raspberries.

Enjoy!

Re discovered photos.

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Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of posts. It’s been another crazy few months and I’ve been working on some changes for my blog/ website (more to come on that soon). I promise I’ll up the anti over the next few weeks particularly because I have some incredible recipes and tips to share with you all.

Since I’ve been back in the country for my off season, my camera has had no battery and I haven’t been able to upload some long lost photos from the Maldives… It wasn’t until today I figured I have a card slot in my computer so I decided I should share some of the photos I never had a chance to post. ImageImageImageImageImage
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PERU

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Were on the road again… first stop Peru for the Movistar Pro, WQS. It’s a beautiful place, really different to anywhere I’ve been before. Desert surround us. Colorless mountains that look different every time you drive past them and never fail to get us all out of the car to take photos, even though we’ve seen it time and time again. The local form of transport is tuk tuk’s and the food is delicious. Our favorites so far have been the Mexican down the alley from our hotel and a little white restaurant covered in pink and white flowers that I ate probably the best textured and flavored tuna I’ve ever had. Were staying in Mancora which is around an hour drive from the contest site at Lobitos. I’m a natural footer but I adore my back hand and Peru seems to be the land of the lefts so I’m feeling excited to surf some heats in such a long and fun left hander. From here we head to Mexico and then to California, so plenty more adventures to look forward to. But for now, here are a couple of our photos from the first few days here in Peru, there are only four because the internet where we are staying is really slow and won’t upload all of my photos!ImageImageImageImage