At the beginning of December I was invited to take part in the Comvita Super Antioxidant Challenge. In a nutshell, the Challenge celebrated the vitality and longevity enjoyed by people from around the Mediterranean Sea. They are among the healthiest, most vital and happy populations in the world, with life expectancies 10 years above the global average. Sardinia in Italy and Ikaria in Greece are two of five areas in the world known as "Blue Zones", pockets around the globe where people live measurably better.
The Challenge before me was to make like the Sardinians and eat antioxidant rich Mediterranean style whole foods, do simple activities every day that connect me to family and friends and boost my wellbeing, and take a swig of Comvita's "Sardinian bottled secret" - Olive Leaf Extract - every morning. It's packed with antioxidants - up to 30 times more than the freshest extra virgin olive oils and 400% greater antioxidant capacity than Vitamin C. The antioxidants in OLE play a huge role in protecting our body cells from damage caused by a poor diet, stress, pollution, excessive exposure to the sun, cigarette smoke and alcohol.
Truth be told, this challenge couldn't have come at a better time! 2013 was massive, and by December I had finally allowed myself to feel the fatigue my body had been carrying (and I had been ignoring) for months.
I am a big fan of no-tox natural cosmetics and body products. Our skin's like a sponge, absorbing up to 60% of the lotions, potions, perfumes & soaps we slather on ourselves. It's hard to fathom just how many chemicals the average woman is exposed to on a daily basis - cleaning, exfoliating, moisturising, shaving, primping, deodorizing, colouring, whitening, bronzing and polishing, some estimates exceed 500 chemicals a day!
For those of you who have read my about page you'll know a little about my philosophy on food and wellness. You'll notice I don't focus on what not to eat, instead it's all about the limitless possibilities of vibrant, alive, colourful, real and mostly plant-based food.
My day on a plate consists of leafy greens, veg, fruits, beans, lentils, wholegrains, nuts & seeds. Plant-based creations, with the occasional serving of free range eggs or sustainable seafood. It's not a chore, it's simply what I love and crave to eat. Nothing is set in stone - I like a bit of fancy cheese from time to time. Coffee and alcohol are not a huge part of my life but I certainly enjoy the odd wine with dinner or out with friends. I don't mind cooking meat (the good stuff) for my husband, even though I don't eat it myself.
The point is, diet constraints and pigeon holes be gone! Food, (and we are talking about REAL food, here) is a joy, not a battle. It's about preference, listening to your body, gratitude, creativity, flavour, friendship and family. What does wholesome food have in common with music, or art, or exercise? I think it helps us live in the moment with those we are dining with, and helps us to enjoy and be truly present. I think that true love of food extends beyond taste, to an appreciation & gratitude of how it's grown, how it nourishes, and how it brings people together.
Homemade Bounty Bars
Chocolate Coconut Kale Thickshake
Dinspiration - my favourite throw together meals
Raw Vegan Lime Cheesecake
The Original Green Smoothie
Plant-powered Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream
DIY Three Ingredient Facewash
Creamy Cashew Berry Smoothie