So I’m going to get a little honest here. I have not always had such a great relationship with food. Hell, my mean girl still gets in my head about food even though, after studying so much I KNOW that how I eat is SO CORRECTLY and there’s seriously nothing my mean girl should be saying to me. Why? Because I’m nourishing my temple every, single, day. Even my dentist was surprised when I told her that I don’t eat any sugar. She said to me ‘wait even after your operation? Didn’t you want to just have some soft drink at least’ and I was like ‘um NO!’ In my mind I was more like (what the actual fu*ck, you’re a dentist, as if you would even suggest that and how the fu*k is that going to help my mouth heal faster?!)
SMLXL

Image above: Before i quit sugar and JERFed (Dec, 2014)  and after i quit sugar and started to JERF (Dec, 2015)
 
Anyway back to the point. Before I starting studying the effects of sugar and fat on our body, I counted calories and ate low fat(ish).
Yep definitely guilty of choose low fat milk, cheese, skinless chicken breast, minimal olive oil etc. But at the same time, nothing was happening. I was
always stuck at (what I thought) my body type’s weight. I even went on a ‘watermelon and egg diet’ before my year 12 formal. I basically just ate watermelon for the day of my formal and the days before I ate eggs and avo for breakfast and lunch cooked on non-stick pans so I didn’t have to have any oil. Bad? YES. Not only was I doing my body no favours by counting calories, but my diet was much higher in sugar (as I ate A LOT of fruit and ‘natural’ sweetness like honey’ ) and I was doing all this from a place of FEAR. What did I turn to what I felt sad and stressed because of Year 12 exams? Chocolate and food in general. And how was I trying to make myself feel better again?….by doing an hour of hard core exercise thinking I’d ‘burn the calories’— but we now know that our body just doesn’t work like that. And again, this was done out of fear.
However, once I really started looking into food and JERFing, I have created a healthy and sustainable diet for myself that WORKS. I ended up losing weight, eating more and exercising less. It’s important to realise that our body is using food to FUEL us. So we need to give it beautiful, nourishing food in order to keep us strong, disease free and radiant. If you eat crap, you can’t get annoyed that you look like crap. Did you know that if you have good hair, skin and nails, then you know that every other organ in your body has its optimal amount of nutrients and minerals from your food! Because the hair, skin and nails are the LAST place to receive nutrients and minerals.
Everything outside of us is a true reflection of what’s inside of us. 
A lot of the time, bad eating habits can be a reflection of something else that is going on in your life, so it is important to take a holistic approach to your relationship with food. Don’t just tell yourself you ‘can’t have’ something because you know what that will do? make you want it MORE. Instead, take a step back and see what factors in yourself may be putting pressure on you causing you stress, whether your mean girl needs to be put on mute, whether you need to LOVE yourself a bit more, whether you need to stop judging yourself and let yourself open up a bit more.
Your body wants organic, home-cooked, nutritious foods-it was made this way. I have settled into my ideal weight and am able to retain this with no crazy fluctuating, dieting or depriving myself. The 1 reason why DIET’S DON’T WORK is because they are limiting and depriving.
When you tell your body you can’t have something, you just want it more.
Now I’m not saying go eat a chocolate bar if that’s what you’re wanting….You should just try and dense out your meals with nutritious options so that your body and mind don’t feel deprived and thus your cravings will reduce dramatically. When you fill yourself up with beautiful, healthy foods, you don’t leave space for the bad stuff! Your mind isn’t fighting you and there is no love-hate relationship anymore!
I listen to my body. I eat what my body asks for and needs for, in order for it to function at its best. and guess what…
IT FEELS AWESOME 
So here’s your summarised 4 tips to healing your relationship with food:
  1. Eat from a place of love, not fear. Quit sugar because you love yourself, not because you are scared it’s giving you cellulite. Eat to nourish your temple, to keep it strong for the long haul.
  2. Ask yourself what’s really going on here – open up and be honest with yourself
  3. Notice your mean girl and push her aside
  4. Don’t tell yourself you can’t have. Don’t demonise food and make limitations. Just Eat Real Food. (like in my book!) 
So Beautiful, are you turning to food out of fear or love? Are you practising a healthy relationship with food, or are you constantly feeling guilty after you eat? Remember that making food the enemy is all in your head. It’s not what it should be, and only YOU can change that! 

 

For the youngsters (including moi): How to eat less sugar and still stay social and ‘cool’

In case you don’t know – food cannot always cure disease, but it can ALWAYS prevent disease.
It’s pretty shi**y to say the least that somehow society has deemed it kinda ‘uncool’ to be healthy and your friends and roommates makes those snarky comments like ‘you’re so healthy’, ‘ooh here she comes with her organic shopping’, or the ‘you are totally judging me for eating this chocolate bar’ – like no I’m not! Who am I to judge you for eating chocolate. If you want to eat chocolate, then you go for it! But I’m allowed and honoured to treat my body how it wants and deserves to be treated. I am here on this earth and I want to look after myself. My body works its ass off to keep my alive, so it’s nice of me to help it along the way. Am I right?!
TBH I don’t even like the word ‘healthy’ because it places this connotation that you are annoying, fussy and a freak when actually you’re not even being “healthy” you’re just eating real food that our bodies are made to eat. It’s just junk food shouldn’t be called junk food, because it’s not food. It’s a bunch of chemicals and preservatives to SEEM like food. But it’s really just poison.
Despite you needing to shut out the haters and your mean girl and start living a true and authentic life that you LOVE, I’ve put together a few tips that will help you stay social and healthy.
  1. Have healthy snacks easily available. We are all about quick and convenient food (hence why young people tend to reach for the fast food). So stock your cupboard and fridge up with peeled boiled eggs, hummus, pre-cut veggie sticks, avocado, chopped veggies for the week and any other nutrient dense snacks. For main meals, try out some of my healthy versions of your not so healthy favourites in my eBook, Just Real Food or from my recipe section
  2. Establish a healthy relationship with your body. I know you probs hear this one time and time again, but it is so important to realise that you must love your body! If you love your body, you will have a much better time sticking to a healthy lifestyle because you value and care about what you shove in your gob.
  3. Educate yourself. We are at an age where if someone tells us to do something – we will do the opposite. So do some reading for yourself and figure our the damaging effects of sugar and learn to read the food labels to find the crap.
  4. Show you friends that you don’t need to get slammed on vodka cruisers in order to have fun! (and stick to the clear spirits and soda water for a sugar-free option)
  5. Eat a big meal before you go out with friends so if there aren’t any healthy options, you aren’t so starving that you’ll end up reaching for the crap
  6. Learn to love to cook and love your spices! I put spices in everything and on everything and this has totally transformed the way I cook. You can take your veggies from zero to hero when you learn some good spice combos – so get on Pinterest and search ‘spice chart’ and you’ll be swamped (in a good way) with ideas.
  7. Show your friends how AWESOME AND EPIC life is without sugar and JERFing!!! just a heads up, that sometimes people are quite literally just jealous of the fact that you have so much self-control. So any criticisms I just take as a compliment 😉

 

My Real Food Byron Bay Guide + More

Bayleaf Cafe – Breakfast was amazing here! I had the breakfast greens and it was amazeballs! Although it had a very small amount of buckwheat kernels in it, and I am usually grain free, I had it despite this! Why? Because I’m on holidays and I have developed my self-love to sometimes let my guard down. This allows me to not sabotage my holiday and enjoy every moment. Buckwheat is by no means unhealthy or bad for my body, however my usually grain free diet means I sometimes have to take two deep breaths and fill myself up. It was fricken’ amazing btw and I left with such a happy tummy!!! Their coffee is also TO DIE FOR. I had an ice filter – and then one every day after that…and then I packed some to bring home

Mum had the Spiced Golden Mylk with coconut milk and she also loved it. Very smooth and healing. She then had to get one every day for the rest of the week because she loved it that much!

Naked treaties- I had the green bowl with the tahini dressing on the side. So delicious, however, the vegetables were a bit hard to chop in the bowl! Nevertheless, I devoured it. I had it with the tahini dressing on the side so I could add my own amount which I prefer to do always, as I prefer less dressing than more (just personal preference). My sister got the raw nachos which looked amazing and was, however, she said there was a lot of avocado and not much else which was unfortunate. Some more of the walnut mince and housemate ‘chips’ would have been epic. Will be back there again that’s for sure!

Rae’s on Wategoes- Where to begin?! Firstly, the setting of this incredible, intimate and chic restaurant is picture perfect and when accompanied with such nourishing, real food you just cannot go wrong. The service was fantastic and I asked for my dish to be dairy and gluten free which they did without a single fuss! (It was already the sugar-free option). This was tick number 1! My brother is anaphylactic to pistachios and they were very accommodating to also make all 5 of our dishes nut free. Tick number 2!

My complimentary hors d’oeuvre was made gluten and dairy free (the others had the little dollop of cream) which I was so grateful for! I had some mixed olives for starters which were so full of flavour followed by their catch of the day (which was snapper), upland cress, caponata, silicon olive, lemon, pistachio crumble (none of this though because of my brothers nut allergy). It was the most perfect ‘me’ meal ever. All I ever want when I go out for a beautiful meal is a fresh piece of fish, some vegetables and olive oil and holy guacamole they hit the spot!! I devoured the whole dish, plus some sides of greens which were shared with the table (cause you know me…I can never have too many veggies!).

It’s always a good sign when I leave a place with a happy tummy (because my constantly clean diet means I have a very sensitive stomach) and this was another 11/10 feed from the amazing Byron Bay…I seriously think I’ll be getting married here. I am so in my zone; meditation, yoga, beautiful food, beautiful people, the sun, wavy hair and early nights. What more do you need in life?

Folk – Wow this humble little place is the perfect sanctuary for breakfast. Located walking distance just outside of Byron Bay, you can find this small, perfect breakfast spot that screams good vibes, happy people and fresh, local produce. With such down to earth staff and amazing interiors, it’s hard not to enjoy your visit.

I ordered the organic poached eggs on sourdough (without the sourdough) served with miso sweet potato, a silver beet and mint pesto and garden greens. Absolutely amazing flavours – the sweet potato was delicious and I quite literally could have licked the plate. You could honestly taste the love in the food and the freshness in the beautiful little poachies. My dad got the sourdough with his meal and it looked fricken epic I have to say – such a huge chunky piece of fresh looking bread – so if you’re able to eat bread…then I seriously would not skip this opportunity.

Coffee was actually from Dukes roasters in Melbourne so it was a familiar coffee – so it was smooth and beautiful. Their almond and cashew milk is made in house (in fact I saw a staff member making it with her very hands) so you can just imagine how good everything is for your insides.

Side point: One of the chef’s came over to our table to inform us that their kitchen does contain traces of nuts in everything (for my brother’s allergy) which was so considerate of her to do. Their kitchen is open for every customer to see the quality and care that they put into every meal. You cannot miss this spot and the perfect walking distance to and from Byron’s main shops.

The Brokenhead coconut milk – This is a must buy and try item when you come to Byron. It is stocked in most health food stores – I got mine from Santo’s (across from Woolies), alternatively Green Garage have it. It is one of the only kinds of coconut milk that I have come across that has no added sugar. Obviously, coconut milk has naturally occurring sugar from the sweetness of the coconut but the amount of fat that coconuts have stop you from OD-ing on sugar because they are so filling. I made a raw Cacao and Turmeric iced coconut milk and it was amazinggggggg. I also splashed some into a Bayleaf coffee that I got as takeaway, and again – amazing. It is SO CREAMY and REAL tasting.

Byron Bay farmers markets (Thursday 8-11am) – Wow oh wow! This was such an epic display of the amazing produce from local farmers. You can literally see the love radiating off the produce as families and friends grow such amazing things! From yellow zucchinis (I have actually never seen one with my own eyes before) to green squash to fully organic, grass fed, grass finished, no crap, so much love beef! Yep, this beef was so pure and fresh ever I was like OMG I have to get some (and I’m not the biggest red meat fan). The taste of the vegetables that I bought and the realness in flavour make me somewhat concerned of the stuff I normally eat….

I bought this huge fat cucumber and the taste was unreal. Plus the freshest and most alive fresh rocket and spinach which I literally had to cut the roots off which I loved! I seriously wish that there were more little farmers markets around Melbourne and other cities because I feel like people might actually start to appreciate their food and waste less of it if they saw the families that put their heart and soul into growing it and when they can taste the love in every bite.

Halcyon House – We stopped at this Hampton inspired boutique hotel on our way to Brisbane airport for a coffee and to have a good old sticky beak at the amazing fit out. The menu for their restaurant, Paper Daisy sounds fresh and JERF worthy! Think grilled fish and ‘plants’ or some poached chicken with artichokes, mushrooms and sunflower seeds. They even have cheese platters for your sugar-free alternative to a desert! This is definitely a must-try for my next trip.

Staying Sober When Everyone Else is Drinking

Over the past year I have slowly started to drink less and with seeing and feeling the benefits, it becomes somewhat ADDICTIVE. Plus, when you start to really practise self-love and just be yourself, you don’t need alcohol to have a good time. You just start to not care what other

people think and dance your heart out sober and it’s SO MUCH FUN! 

So with the event last night behind me, I wanted to share with you my pre-event routine, what I drink throughout the night and what I do the next day (because despite not drinking, I’m still exhausted… and a tired Monica = a hungry one)

The day of my event I will always fuel up with a really solid breakfast (after my morning exercise). So yesterday morning I had breakfast greens cooked in coconut oil with poached eggs, avocado and a bulletproof coffee. 

For lunch, I had a big huge giant salad with again, lots of greens, some capsicum and cucumber, roasted mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini and cauliflower in spices. Topped with tahini, smoked salmon and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. 

As I was organising the event and doing the decorations, I had to be there 2 hours prior so I ensured I packed myself some food. Although I wrote down my dietary requirements; gluten free, dairy free and sugar free – you never know what you’ll be given and you know me – I need TONNES of veggies for dinner. (Not just a little bit of steak and potato thanks).

I packed with me 2 boiled eggs, some guacamole with cucumber and capsicum sticks and 2 squares of gelatine. This kept me going all night until 2.30am, when I went to sleep.

During the night I actually just drank still or sparkling water in a wine or champagne glass. As it’s a young crowd – people ask questions about

drinking (as terrible as that is!)…so to avoid a million questions I simply asked the bartender to fill up a wine glass with water. They give you a bit of an odd look (like did I hear this chick correctly?) but I just look at them seriously and they hand it over! It definitely also helps when there is a good DJ at the event as I just get right into the mood and can have a good dance with only real food in my body! (and you have no regrets the next day!). 

When people ask me if I’m drinking, I happily say ‘no I’m driving’ or ‘nah don’t really feel like it tonight’ and most people (the good, worthy of your time ones) are totally understanding. And frankly, anyone that judges you for not drinking is the

one with the problem – not you.

When you are comfortable in your own skin and have your soul sisters and brothers around you – you don’t need no alcohol to have a blast of a time! 

When my friend and I changed in the car and got to the after party, I promise you we were having more fun than most people there that were drinking… ripping up the dance floor in my gym gear (yes gym gear) and SNEAKERS. I defs got a workout at the same time. After the stress of decorating and helping to organise the event, it was epic to just be able to let loose and have a good solid dance and not give two shits what anyone else thought … or be drunk for that matter. 

The next day is always still tough because getting only 5-6 hours sleep isn’t the greatest feeling and it’s hard to be productive and focused. When you don’t get enough sleep, the hormones that suppress your appetite are disrupted so you tend to overeat and feel hungry all day long even when you aren’t. To reduce this I ensured that I had a BIG breakfast this morning. A big bowl of veggies, vegemite and avo on cauliflower toast and 2 poached eggs. Then I sipped on water/tea and tried to do some work while I was slightly alert and awake then had a nap at around 1/1:30 before lunch. By having a nap, it helps me to control cravings and hunger and gives me some more jet fuel for the rest of the day. 

Lunch today was a massive salad with brussel sprouts, onion, red capsicum, cucumber, cauliflower, eggplant, zucchini, snow peas, broccoli, asparagus and broccolini on a bed of rocket/spinach with an egg and tonnes of olive oil. I roast my veggies in tonnes of spices and by adding an egg, it ensures I’ve had a ‘solid’ feed. If I don’t do this, I risk wanting to snack in the afternoon. 

Dinner is a big bowl of zoodles (or 2 or 3 hehe) with pesto and some salmon followed by an EARLY BED so I’m feeling good for a productive day tomorrow. 

THE BOTTOM LINE? Drinking makes me feel like CRAP. And I HATE feeling like crap. This reason alone is strong enough for me to not drink or be pressured in social situations. What helps you? Or what are your thoughts around this?