Posts Tagged ‘aspen lifestyle’

How dangerous are the oils you use?

Posted on: August 21st, 2020 by Analeigh Brown No Comments

Earlier this year we spent 3 weeks travelling around the south island of New Zealand and stayed in a few caravan parks during that time. Camp kitchens are a really good place to meet other travellers and hear their story, and for someone like me who is obsessed with food, it’s a great place to see what other people are eating. The main thing I noticed was that the majority of people were cooking with vegetable or canola oil, which really worried me. It highlighted the fact that most people aren’t aware of the dangers associated with vegetable oils so I thought it would be worthwhile writing about it in the hope of spreading the word.

I feel these oils are up there with the worst of the worst when it comes to the toxic foods we’re ingesting today. For years these oils have been portrayed as a healthier option because they are low in saturated fat and have a high smoke point, but there’s a lot that we haven’t been told. It’s worth noting that there are numerous studies showing that vegetable oils contribute to disease while saturated fats DO NOT.

I’ll start by telling you how they’re made and hopefully that’s enough to make you vow to never eat anything cooked in these oils again. Keep in mind that olive oil is made simply by pressing the olives to extract the oil.

Are you ready for this shocking truth…?

How vegetable oils are made

Firstly, oil is squeezed from the seeds at high pressure leaving behind the protein portion called ‘seed cakes’. Some of them can also be processed at unnaturally high heats which oxidises the oil meaning they go rancid even before you buy them.

The ‘seed cakes’ are then washed in a vat of chemical solvent (usually petroleum) to extract the remaining oil.

The oil is sent through a refining process where it’s washed with sodium hydroxide or lye which is an extremely harsh chemical used in soap making (which is another whole blog post in itself!). While bathing in the sodium hydroxide it’s spun in a vat so the centrifugal force separates the impurities and the by-products of it are sold to soap manufacturers.

As the oil contains natural waxes from the seeds it has a cloudy appearance so it receives further treatment. The wax is used to make margarine (another item you should AVOID!). To do this they use a process called hydrogenation, during which trans-fats are created.

The newly created oil is treated with more chemicals to improve the colour.

Finally, the oil is washed and filtered before it is bleached.

After all these processes it unfortunately has a harsh smell,  so the final step is for it to be chemically deodorised.

As if this isn’t enough, the oil is then funnelled into plastic containers, many of which contain chemical additives to give the plastic more durability. Plastic is known to have negative effects on both the environment and human health such as disruption to the endocrine and immune systems.

 

Vegetable oils and the ones to avoid:

Canola oil
Soy oil
Sunflower oil
Corn oil
Cottonseed oil
Rice bran oil
Grapeseed oil
Peanut oil
Safflower oil
Margarine (and any vegetable spreads that are an imitation of butter)

Mass production of these oil means the price is driven right down. You will find them on the shelves of every supermarket for only a few dollars per litre. And this fact alone means that they end up in nearly all processed food… salad dressings, sauces, biscuits, chips, cakes, crackers, frozen foods, even some drinks contain them!

You don’t eat processed foods? Great! But, you’re still not in the clear. Most feta, sun-dried tomatoes, olives are all bottled in the same toxic oils. ‘Healthy’ marketing on food packets, gluten free rice crackers, expensive gourmet chips, dips and more can all contain these same toxic oils.

 

Don’t be fooled!

Awareness is the first step. Now next time you go shopping at the supermarket, turn the package over and check out the ingredient list. This is the only way to know what’s in the food you are eating. Learning to read the ingredients list is the only way to ensure you’re avoiding them.

You’ll notice that vegetable and canola oils have a 5 star health rating (higher than olive oil!). Hopefully this begins to highlight the fact that health star ratings are not to be regarded with any trust, along with all the marketing of food products.

Most restaurants will unfortunately cook in these oils too, especially when serving deep fried things as it is way too expensive to use healthy oils in those deep frying vats.

These oils are linked to inflammation and an increased risk of cancer, whereas olive oil is shown to increase heart health plus has many other benefits. With the massive rise in production of these oils over the last 20 or so years, it’s no wonder we are facing a health crisis with alarming rates of cancer, obesity and other chronic illnesses.

 

So what oil can you use…

The only oils we should be using are:

Olive oil
Coconut oil
Avocado oil
Macadamia oil
Walnut oil
Alternative good fats include butter, ghee, animal fats such as lard, tallow and duck fat.

Hopefully this information has helped you to have a better understanding of the broad term of ‘vegetable oil’ and why it should be avoided at all costs. If you know anyone who still uses it, be a good friend and pass them this information in the hope that it will change their mind and improve the health of those you care about.

If you’d like to have a conversation with me about this, i’m all ears and would love to help guide you towards a healthier low tox life. Get in touch via email lifestyle@aspencoaching.com.au or find us on Instagram.

Making Your Food Go Further

Posted on: May 14th, 2020 by Analeigh Brown No Comments

This COVID-19 crisis has really highlighted the importance of making your food go a long way. Now that my whole family is at home together I’m finding it way harder to keep up with the amount of food we’re going through. It seems like a lot of people are having the same issues so I thought I’d share a few of the ways I keep our foods stocked up, meaning less waste, less spending and way less cooking time.

Firstly, some facts that will help to provide some background as to why less food waste is important. Sorry to those who have already read this on my instagram but I thought it was worth mentioning again.

Australian households throw away 2.5 million tonnes of edible food each year – that equates to nearly 300 kilograms per person!

The average Australian household sends roughly 4.9 kilograms of food waste to landfill each week.

In Australia, 7.3 million tonnes of food is lost or wasted each year. Of the 7.3 million tonnes of food that is lost or wasted, 1.2 million is recycled, 2.9 million is recovered, and 3.2 million is sent to landfill – enough to fill 5,400 Olympic sized swimming pools!

75% of all food that is sent to landfill comes from our households.

Up to 25% of all vegetables produced never leave the farm.

So where does 7.3 million tonnes of lost or wasted food come from? Households are the biggest contributors (34%), followed by primary production (31%) and manufacturing (24%)

Food waste also plays a role in harming the environment. Rotting food in landfill produces methane, which is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. For every tonne of food waste in landfill, a tonne of CO2-e greenhouse gas is generated.

When we waste food, we also waste the natural resources that go into making it, like land, water and energy.

1,460 gigalitres of water is used annually to grow Australian produce that is thrown out.

In fact, it takes 50 litres of water to produce just one orange.

The economic cost of food wastage in Australia is estimated at more than $20 billion per year.

(These food waste facts are from the Foodbank website)

“Banana’s being dumped because they are too big, too small or too curvy to sell!”

Pretty eye opening hey? These stats make me extremely committed to not throwing ANY food away. Being prepared is a really good way to stop this.

Tips on cutting down waste and staying healthy

Double it, Triple it! 
This is the most helpful step I take that makes the biggest impact on my weekly workload in the kitchen. Always double (or even triple) up when cooking. If I’m making bolognese, a curry or slow cooked stew/casserole, I triple it. This means 2 nights of the week I don’t need to cook – I love those nights!! Any extras, pop them in the freezer for another lazy day. Sometimes I even use the bolognese for breakfast and poach an egg in it.

Leftover dinner makes for a great breakfast!

If I’m making a roast chicken, I roast 2 chickens and shred one of them to leave in the fridge for lunches. If i’m stir frying veggies I double the amount of veg and keep it in a container in the fridge to use for breakfasts or lunches.

Having this organisation means I’m less likely to make last minute decisions to eat out or have something unhealthy, and it also means when the kids are “starrrrrving” there’s always something nutrient dense in the fridge for them.

Meal Prep + Planning
Meal prep is another great way to lessen your workload. Sometimes it feels hard to commit to an hour or two per week in the kitchen to do some bulk cooking or meal prep but in the end it saves you so much time throughout the week. I like to spend a couple of hours on Monday each week preparing some food for the week ahead. I usually bake a tray of roast veggies, slow cook some meat, make a sweet of some sort and fry up some chicken all at the same time meaning I have a fridge full of options.

I find that meal planning really helps. When I have a plan, not only does it stop me from those “what’s for dinner?” thoughts constantly rattling around in my brain taking up valuable space, but it also stops me from eating out or making unhealthy choices because it’s become too late and I can no longer be bothered working it out. I usually write out a loose plan for the week (sometimes even a month if i’m feeling super organised). I don’t always stick to it but it really helps me to know what to shop for so I’m not buying things I’ll end up throwing out.

Cheaper cuts and buying bulk
Eating well and feeding a family can definitely be expensive so any way to save money is always helpful. Buying cheaper cuts of meat is a great way to save. Buying cuts like chuck steak are super cheap and perfect for the slow cooker. A slow cooker is actually a really good way to save money because no matter what cut of meat you get slow cookers seem to deliver deliciously tender meat every time. You can also double up your meals really easily. I always make a big beef stew, freeze half of it and then have it over either mash potato and sweet potato, or over steamed veggies.

Storing your leftovers
Instead of throwing food away, make sure you have a dedicated place in your fridge to store leftover foods so none of them get accidentally forgotten about. Go through your fridge twice a week to find out which fruit and veggies are becoming overripe and in need of being used asap and work out how to use them. If you struggle to think of ideas, just google the foods you have eg. “broccoli, zucchini, chicken recipes”

Here are some ways I shared on my instagram recently to reduce food waste:

Stale bread can be turned into breadcrumbs (and frozen if not needed yet)

Leftover porridge can be turned into pancakes another day (simply add banana, an egg and cinnamon and blend it up)

Over ripe bananas can be frozen and used in any baking (banana bread, pancakes etc) or even blended to make ice cream. My kids just like eating whole frozen bananas (they taste like banana paddle pops!)

Leftover veggies can be stored in the fridge and used another day in a frittata, curry, casserole, or just a fry up with some bacon and eggs (is this called bubble & squeak?)

Fruit and veg sticks not eaten by kids can be frozen and go into smoothies or stock

Leftover smoothies can be turned into icy poles or ice blocks

Leftover meat and veg can be put into rice paper rolls or sushi wraps

Ageing veggies can be frozen and used to make bone broth/stock. It’s actually a good idea to store all veggies scraps (think carrot tops, onion skins etc)in the freezer to use in broth/stock-so little waste!

Once a week go through your fridge, pull out any food you need to get rid of and google recipes (eg. mushrooms, spinach, pumpkin recipes)

Start a compost!!!! This is the BEST way to get rid of food waste.

After cooking a roast chicken, keep the leftover carcass and make bone broth. I have attached a recipe link for bone broth for you to try.

Bone Broth Recipe

I hope this helps you to feel like you’re not constantly slaving away to cook meals that don’t seem to go very far. I used to feel like I would spend hours cooking and the meals would be woofed down in 5 minutes with little appreciation for the time or effort it took me to make. It’s taken me years to learn how to cut down my cooking time and even writing this has reminded me of strategies that I seem to have recently forgotten.

If you’re ever stuck for ideas, I love talking about cooking so feel free to hit me up.

Analeigh – Health Coach

Christmas Craziness: Tips For A Guilt-Free Christmas

Posted on: December 16th, 2019 by Analeigh Brown No Comments

Christmas seems to come around faster every year. It feels like it should only be July right now but here we are madly preparing for the silly season.

With an endless calendar of events, it can be a challenging time of year to stay healthy and feel good about yourself for doing so.

I thought I would write a few ideas that can help you feel more vibrant and energetic this Christmas.

 

Expectations

It’s a very social time of year with an abundance of events and opportunities to indulge in more food and drink than usual. Being too strict on yourself can end in feelings of guilt which can exacerbatethe cycle of shame and poor eating habits. 

From experience, when I feel shitty about myself I’m way more likely to make crappy food choices, entering me into a downward spiral. With that being said, we don’t want to go into Christmas with the mindset of, “oh well, it’s Christmas time, I’ll just get back on track when it’s all over”. It’s a whole month, and the longer this spiral goes, the harder it is to redirect back in a positive direction.

The trick is to slide yourself somewhere nicely between the two. Plan to enjoy yourself and choose what you want to indulge in.

Plan your weeks, and know when the events are that you want to enjoy a drink. Don’t let a whole week get derailed after one bad meal.

If you have the work Christmas party coming up, you could decide to eat well that day and then eat whatever is on offer at the party and have a few drinks.

If you stick to that plan, there’s no need to feel bad about it and the next day you can go straight back to eating well again.

If you know yourself well and you often drink too much then maybe it’s a case of saying, “I would normally have 6 beers, tonight I’m only going to have 4”. See how good you feel about yourself the next day after sticking to your word.

The key is to create a sustainable relationship with what you eat and drink that leaves you feeling in control, rather than the food or alcohol controlling you.

Observe what expectations you have on yourself. Are you being too strict that you stress yourself out? Or are you expecting too little of yourself that you have a total blow out for all of December and half of January? Either way, get yourself in check and enter with some forward planning. Set yourself up for success. Each day is a new day and you can pull yourself back on track as many times as needed.

 

Mindset

If you can work on trading a mindset of restriction and deprivation, for one of self-care, chances are you’ll treat yourself much better because of it.

Humans have never been great with total deprivation; we need to treat ourselves and find enjoyment in food. If you totally restrict yourself and deprive yourself of this enjoyment, then there’s a higher probability that you’ll bust and end up eating something that wasn’t within your plan and feeling shit about it.

There are so many delicious and healthy recipes out there, perhaps look to bring something new to your next Christmas catch up that you can feel good about eating?

If you haven’t already done so, now would be a good time to start practicing intuitive or mindful eating. I’m actually going to write a whole separate post on this soon as it’s so important and a huge part of feeling healthy, but I will give you a few tips in the meantime.

Start by trying to eat your meal without distractions (easier said than done if you have kids, I know, but trust me, it can be done).

Sit yourself down with your meal with no phone or TV (or other distractions) and connect with your senses.

What does the food look like? How does it smell? When you take your bites (and make sure they are not too large a forkfuls), what are the textures like? How does it taste? Try to do this for the whole meal, monitoring how your body feels as your stomach fills up, and register when you are actually full.

This may all sound pretty ridiculous, but doing this will help you to learn a lot about your body and the way you eat. It certainly highlighted a lot for me, number one was how fast I ate. Sometimes I would be halfway through a mouthful and have another fork full of food ready to shovel into my mouth before I would realise what I was doing.

When we eat mindlessly, we easily overeat, and then feel extremely bloated afterwards. Mindful eating helps you to learn to listen to your body and work out which foods are helping you to feel good and which are not.

You really begin to understand how important food is in our overall health. It makes a lot of sense that what we put into our body affects what we get out of it, but once you can tune in to your body you can really take this understanding to a new level.

Lastly, Christmas is really about sharing love and good food with your friends and family. Food has the power to enhance human connection and create a sense of community, so make sure you enjoy the time you get to spend with your family.

Have fun these holidays and don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go exactly to plan. Laugh, smile, and shake it off. Tomorrow is a new day.

Merry Christmas!

 

Eating Health Food at Christmas

 

Why You May Need a Health Coach

Posted on: October 24th, 2019 by Emma Robson No Comments

I’ve been involved in the Health and Fitness Industry for 13 years; since my first job at a juice bar, to now owning and managing my own gym.

I’ve spent countless hours researching different aspects of Health and Wellbeing. But despite all this, I still need a health coach. Let me tell you why.

 

My Journey

My journey started when I was 17, while working at the Local Juice bar. Back then, juice bars weren’t common, it was quite unique that our little town up in the hills had one.

I thought it was so cool that you could dump a whole bunch of fruits and veggies into a blender and create this amazingly tasty, healthy drink.

It didn’t pay much, but I didn’t care. I worked as best I could, came in early, stayed late, and kept myself busy.

I became obsessed. I sought out all the superfoods I could find. I learnt how to read food labels.

What I found out changed my life – all of a sudden I wanted to prepare all my food from scratch.

After this, my first serious job was at the local gym. I worked behind the desk in administration and cleaning duties while I finished high school and got my qualifications as a Personal Trainer. I would attend as many gym classes as I could; lifting weights, cardio sessions, anything! I loved it!

I have been extremely persistent in my journey to improve my health and wellbeing. I can honestly say that aesthetics are not the driving force behind this. That being said, it is nice to feel confident in the skin you are in. But it has always been more important to me how I feel, rather than what I look like.

Trying to stay on top of health is a constant hunt for information, constant experimenting, and trying the things I read about. I’m constantly seeking out opposing info, because no matter what you google, there is a very strong argument for and against everything nowadays.

As the years have progressed, my eagerness to learn about the body has not waned. It has, however, evolved as more and more information comes into the mix. More challenges, more struggles, more variability, more uncertainty.

Amongst the self-driven journey, I have had some key mentors that have helped me when I’ve been unsure what to do next.

Humans have this natural instinct for tunnel vision – we see only what we want to see.

Once one becomes aware of this, you can practice looking outside the tunnel. At first it’s very blurry, but sometimes, seeking out other people to help can be very insightful.

 

A Slap in the Face

My first slap in the face came when I was 23 years old.

I came off the pill because I had heard of some negative implications with it. 1 month after stopping I started gaining weight. I had always sat around 62-64kgs. Before I knew it was 69kgs, then 74kgs, I peaked at 79kgs in just 3 months of being off the pill. In addition, I experienced some really bad acne around my neck and jawline.

By this point, I had been a Personal Trainer for 5 years and thought I knew what I was doing. I exercised a lot. I ate all my superfood smoothies, raw balls, kale salads, and steamed broccoli.

What was happening? Why could I not explain the changes with my body?

At around the same time, I split up with my boyfriend in a very rough way. This combination of events caused me to be highly stressed. It resulted in a lot of anxiety and being very confused.

I was sitting there having PT consults with people talking to them about how I could help them lose weight and feel great, yet I couldn’t even achieve this for myself. I wasn’t sure what was going on and I felt shameful and useless.

A visit to the GP ended with a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  The doctor told me to go back on the pill, take metformin (diabetes medication), and spoke to me about my fertility. She advised me that I would struggle to have children.

I was pretty rocked by this considering how much I had looked after my wellbeing over the years.

Being the health nut I was, I refused to accept a lifetime of medication. I delved back into the world of google and started to look into a deeper understanding of health.

Up until this point, my internal world was a never a consideration in my health journey – I only ever looked at food and exercise.

I started to research the endocrine system, stress, and emotional health. My gut feeling was that the answer was there somewhere.

 

My First Health Coach

I decided I couldn’t tackle this issue alone. I took the results from my GP and booked a couple of sessions with a counsellor and a holistic lifestyle coach. I listened to podcasts and read about other peoples journeys. Many of these stories were super uplifting, with stories of people completely rewriting their future by making changes to their lifestyle, drug free.

My Health Coach taught me a lot about slowing down, eating fat, getting rid of guilt around certain foods, and gave me more ways to measure progress.

I looked at my bowel movements, my sleep quality, how long it took me to feel awake in the morning, and the regularity of my sleep.

I learnt a lot and the weight began to shift.

The first 5kgs dropped off, and I slowly went down back into the 60’s.

I never dropped below 68kgs. This is my new normal. I feel healthy and happy here, I don’t have guilt around food.

I am not perfect. I look at my health differently now and incorporate my whole universe into my decisions.

When we opened my gym Aspen, I was working a lot. I didn’t have time to cook as much, so I let myself eat more meals out. I bent the rules a little because the stress wasn’t worth it, at this particular time of my life.

 

Another Slap in the Face

Fast forward a few years, everything was looking good. I was training hard with some very specific strength goals. I was putting everything into my physical practice and was getting a lot of results physically.

However, after 18 months of this, I experienced another crash.

This time, my body was giving me feedback that something wasn’t right. My period wasn’t regular at all. I didn’t have energy. I felt tired all the time. People commented that they thought I had a black eye because of the bags I had.

 

My Second Health Coach

Back to the drawing board.

I was feeling overwhelmed, and given the progress I’d made with my previous health coach, I sought out to get help from another, this time working remotely with someone in America.

I had all my bloods done, hormone panel, gut permeability, microbiome, and commenced a short stint of health coaching to seek out what I couldn’t see.

Or maybe what I knew but couldn’t address alone.

The simplified conclusion was that this time I wasn’t eating anywhere enough for the output I desired.

I was pretty restrictive on carbs and I was pushing my body without refuelling and recovering enough.

After a couple of months of health coaching, I had new actions and a new plan to get me back on track and in control of how I was feeling.

I realised I had stopped paying attention to my sleep quality, and coffee intake. I was under-eating, and was also beating myself up about it all because, “I should know better!”

 

Learn To Seek Help

I have learnt a lot in my 13 years of being in the health and fitness industry.

I have learnt that things change – what worked for me in the past may not work for me in the future.

I have learnt that I get tunnel vision and possess biases towards certain ways of thinking and acting.

I have learnt to ask for help, take guidance from those around me, and question more.

Health Coaching is something that has helped me immensely. Tracking all aspects of your wellbeing can be a tedious and often overwhelming task to take on by yourself.

It is this very reason that drove my desire to provide this service for our community.

We recently launched Aspen Lifestyle, a Health Coaching venture in collaboration with our long-time friend, Analeigh Brown.

If you want to feel better, have more energy, enjoy food, and learn strategies to take control of your wellbeing, please consider getting in touch with her.

Nourishing Toasted Muesli

Posted on: October 10th, 2019 by Analeigh Brown No Comments

The prices charged for muesli are absolutely ridiculous, especially considering it’s relatively simple and cheap to make.

Most of the store-bought muesli contains some pretty undesirable contents that you should steer clear of wherever possible.

One of the nastiest in my opinion is vegetable oil, and trust me, it’s in close to every item you buy in a packet.

This may be overwhelming, but I’m hoping to show you (through the recipes I share) that there are some pretty simple alternatives that you can turn to when avoiding processed foods.

I thought I’d share my recipe with you all so that those who do like to start their day with muesli can do so at a cheaper cost to both their wallet and their health.

I would normally double the quantity for this recipe as my kids tend to inhale muesli!

I don’t often eat it, apart from the occasional dessert, but if the kids could, they would eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

For anyone who is grain free, I will post a granola recipe in the coming weeks.

Ingredients:

 

Method:

  1. – Mix together all dry ingredients in your oven tray
  2. – In a saucepan add the coconut oil and honey. Heat over a low-medium heat stirring until combined and turned into a thin liquid. Don’t over heat as it can burn.
  3. – Pour the liquid over all the dry ingredients and give it a good stir.
  4. – Place in the oven and cook for roughly 30 mins stirring a few times during, keep an eye on it in case it over cooks as it can quickly change from golden to burnt.
  5. – Remove from oven when golden and enjoy!

 

Optional Extras:

 

Exmouth Roadtrip: Maintaining Healthy Eating During Holidays

Posted on: September 26th, 2019 by Analeigh Brown No Comments

Each year I struggle to get through winter. Credit to those who can get through it, or even go that one step further and like it, but I am a summer person through and through.

My mental state definitely suffers as the cold days start rolling in, and especially as the days shorten. Living in Perth, some people would hardly call what we suffer winter, but it’s enough to have me needing to get away.

The last few years we’ve packed our kids in the car and headed north. There’s something magical about waking up at 5am and driving out of here in search of some sunshine.

Last year we spent 7 weeks camping in Broome and it was the most incredible time. Time that allowed us to feel completely free, free from time restraints and routine, the general running of a household and even wifi. Fitness goals went out the window, but the gains were far greater.

Convenience was the other thing we said goodbye to, and something that a lot of people can’t handle when camping, but being in nature and taking our time with everything taught me a lot about slowing down in day to day life, one of my greatest challenges.

This year we decided to head to Exmouth. We packed the car on Wednesday afternoon, got to bed early, and woke up at 4.30am for our winter adventure.

I made sure I had ample snacks for the car, veggie sticks, popcorn, banana bread, nuts, protein balls, and a simple lunch of chicken, rice, and broccoli.

One thing I’ve learnt over the years of travelling is that you can never have too much food, especially when you’ve got two hungry kids! I’ve also come to learn that every stop along the way has a mountain of deep fried dim sims, nuggets, burgers, chips, and cheese sausages that make me want to vomit.

We made it to Carnarvon before night fall and stayed in a motel. The kids were stoked to have a buffet continental breakfast and stuffed their faces with Weetbix, croissants, pancakes, and Nutrigrain – things they don’t get the chance to ever eat at home (apparently I don’t feel them well enough!)

It’s times like this that I have to relax a little and just let them enjoy it seeing as it’s a rare occasion.

I was actually pretty proud of myself because a few years back this would have caused me a load of stress. Dave and I didn’t indulge and instead held off for a real breakfast. We stopped at a playground on the way out and put some bacon, eggs, mushrooms, zucchini and tomato on the bbq and enjoyed such a fulfilling breakfast by the water while the kids played.

This is an art we honed while in Broome last year, cooking every meal off hot plate of the barbecue. There’s no end to the combo’s you can put together on a barbie. The fact that there’s limited washing up afterwards is definitely a winner.

I have included a few photos of some of our barbecue creations for people to try for themselves. It’s just a matter of getting creative and trying a whole heap of different combinations of meats/veggies and seeing what works.

 

 

Exmouth was such a lovely little town and the beaches, when not too windy, were magical. The fact that you can snorkel off the shore and see so many different species of fish and coral is a winner with both kids and adults who aren’t seasoned snorkelers.

We also did a glass bottom boat tour which I highly recommend. We got really lucky and scored a perfectly calm day and the water was turquoise so everything was extremely visible. We got to jump off the boat and spend an hour in the clear blue waters discovering the magic of the Australian coral reef.

The ocean has long been one of my biggest fears, not because of sharks, but because of the unknown. Getting more comfortable with snorkelling over the years has helped me to understand what’s actually down there, and most of the time it’s relatively harmless and abundantly beautiful.

I find that anything that connects us to nature a little more is so worth experiencing. 

We also managed to get the kids out of bed to watch the sunrise from the lighthouse a couple of times. With views of the waves rolling in to the west, and the sun kissed ranges surrounding you, it’s the perfect way to start what is apparently a winter day.

Hiking through the Mandu Mandu gorge was the highlight of our trip. Last year we experienced Karijini which, so far, is one of our favourite places in Australia. We would urge anyone who hasn’t been there to get there ASAP (although it’s not like it’s going anywhere – apparently it’s been around for about 2 billion years). Keep in mind that trekking through these gorges does require a reasonable level of fitness. My son loves to do parkour through them, but I’m happy just strolling through, but even that is definitely enough to build up a sweat climbing your way to the top.

Walking through Mandu Mandu we popped our 3 year old in the hiking backpack and she was asleep within 10 minutes. Man, I wish I could experience being carried in a backpack through a gorge.

 

Hiking Family

 

After Exmouth, we headed back towards Perth, but not without a few nights stop in the beautiful Coral Bay. I really love Coral Bay, as everything in the town is pretty much situated on one small stretch of street. For those people who don’t like kids then I’d probably suggest steering clear (especially around school holiday time) though there are many quiet stations to stay at just north of Coral Bay if it’s peace and quiet you are looking for.

Once again, we cooked some pretty epic breakfast and dinners on the caravan park barbecue. It’s great that they detail their barbies so well so you can always trust that it will be ready for your arrival.

 

 

We spent all day at the beach for the 3 days we were there. There is a really large shallow bay area which is perfect for kids, but there’s also sections of reef that are as close to 1 metre from the shoreline and there are so many species of fish to admire. It’s also great for stand up paddle boarding or kayaking as it’s very calm because of how protected it is there. It also means that it gets nowhere near the amount of wind that Exmouth does.

 

 

As nice as it is in paradise, challenges still arose for me daily.

Usually these came in the form of children fighting or whinging, so it was important for us to create time for ourselves.

I didn’t do it anywhere near as often as I would have liked, but I got a few chances to go and sit on the beach on my own and do some meditation. I’m relatively new to meditation and have been using the headspace app for the last year and a half. In that time, I’ve noticed the most profound effects.

I’ve changed so many things on my health journey over the past 7 years, but the one that I’ve experienced the most positive effects from is definitely meditation. I’ve struggled with different forms of anxiety over time, initially it was from not taking good enough care of myself and really burning the candle at both ends in my early 20’s.

After having kids it was from mothers guilt and worrying over whether I was doing right my by kids, then, as I discovered the foods we were eating were causing a lot of negative effects, I found a whole new source of anxiety as I tried to change our diet and was under constant stress trying to work out what to feed us as I stripped away things like wheat (which even though I thought we weren’t eating much, we were in fact eating it for most meals in the form of toast we ate with our eggs in the morning or Weetbix, sandwiches for lunches, and sometimes pasta for dinners).

I reckon I spent a couple of years in a state of anxiety trying to work out what the heck to eat for every meal.

The fact that all the women in my family suffered from anxiety reinforced the idea that I was predisposed to anxiety and probably couldn’t do much to change that.

I had always rolled my eyes at meditation, mainly because I thought it meant sitting cross legged in absolute silence for half an hour or more. I hardly had a spare two minutes, how was I going to find half an hour?

There was a point that I couldn’t go on with the perpetual state of anxiety, so I decided to give headspace a go after a few people recommended I try it. Boy did I have a total misconception about meditation!

The effects were almost immediate for me, but now that I’ve been meditating for almost 2 years, I’m now seeing the long lasting effects from a long term practice. 

Towards the end of our trip we decided to start having cold showers after listening to a Wim Hoff podcast on one of the long drives. It’s so invigorating ending a hot shower with an icy cold blast.

There are reportedly many benefits, including stress reduction, boosting immunity, and weight loss, but the things I noticed were that I was sleeping better and feeling more energetic. I also realised it was way colder doing it when we got back to Perth in the depths of winter. Even so, we have kept on with it and it’s now been over a month and I’m feeling great.

I definitely have a love hate relationship with them though, I dread jumping in because I know what’s coming up after that beautiful warm shower, but I never regret it. The best part about starting them in winter is that it’s only going to get easier as the months get warmer.

On the way home, our last stop was Geraldton for lunch and a quick play in one of the best playgrounds I’ve had the joy of playing in (yes, I did say ‘playing in’, because Dave and I are both big kids, much to our children’s delight).

The playground is right on the beach, so after a few handstands and some play time with the kids we decided to jump in the ocean for probably our last time in a while seeing as we were heading back to Perth winter.

It wasn’t the warmest weather but I think because of cold shower training we were a lot better equipped to handle the cold, that and the knowledge that it could be our last ocean swim for a while.

Holidays can be really difficult to keep on track with your health goals. I used to just throw in the towel at the start of a holiday and think “screw it, I’ll just enjoy myself and start again when I get home”.

The problem with that attitude was that I was never completely enjoying myself because I wasn’t feeling great due to the unhealthy food I was eating. Couple that with a lack of exercise, and you come home from your holiday feeling glad that it’s over so you can get back on track. These days I have a happy medium where I’m organised enough not to throw healthy eating out the window, but still free enough to loosen the reigns and enjoy myself. 

If you want some help to plan your next holiday so you don’t have to compromise your health goals, book in for a free consultation so I can equip you with everything you need. 

 

Lazy Slow-Cooked Chicken Curry

Posted on: July 19th, 2019 by Analeigh Brown No Comments

I love cooking, but to be honest, I am a pretty lazy cook.

I rarely like cooking recipes that take a long time or have lots of ingredients.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook an elaborate meal on occasions, but most of the time I’m just looking for something nourishing and delicious that I can whip up with as little effort as possible.

I also refuse to use jars of pre-made sauces or spice mixes as 99% of the time they contain some questionable substances and I think most people would be surprised at how easy it is to make tasty flavours without using pre-made products.

This is a chicken curry recipe for people like me who want to spend as little time as possible but make a meal that satisfies. It doesn’t contain a whole heap of fancy expensive ingredients that cost an arm and a leg and you should be able to find all the ingredients in one shop.

If you don’t own a slow cooker, then I really suggest you invest in one, not only are they quite cheap to buy, but they rarely get it wrong. Slow cookers produce some of the most tender meats and the shortest preparation times possible. I’d say this meal takes 15-20 minutes preparation time. How often is that possible with a substantial meal?

Perfect for these chilly winter months, but I still enjoy curries throughout the year.

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

 

Method:

 

Chicken Curry

Aspen Lifestyle: Creating Healthy Relationships With Food

Posted on: July 15th, 2019 by Analeigh Brown No Comments

The Aspen Coaches have done a pretty epic job at helping us with our fitness and providing us with such a supportive and amazing community. As a member of Aspen myself I can’t speak highly enough of the unique and quality coaching I’ve received over the last year.

The coaches genuinely care about each and every member and their achievements and goals. But more importantly, they understand that fitness is only one piece of the health puzzle. This is why they wanted to go a step further and offer health and lifestyle coaching.

In addition to the movement training we take part in at Aspen, there are other aspects of our lives that are just as important to our overall health, including nutrition, sleep, and mindset.

I’ve come on board to help members evaluate what parts of their life could be preventing them from achieving their health goals, and what improvements could be made to have them kicking butt and feeling great.

 

 

Analeigh Brown

I am a mother of 2 and my kids are the reason I am so passionate about learning how to create a healthy lifestyle to live optimally. I’ve always been reasonably healthy but I wasn’t always so conscious of nutrition.

When I was 17, I started modelling. After being told I needed to lose weight, I turned to a gym to try to address my weight, but never really considered looking at what I was eating.

At the time, I was probably a size 10 so I was very lucky I had thick skin and didn’t fall into the trap of self loathing that so many people justifiably would.

I saw so many horrible diet choices within the industry, the most common was deprivation. With all the saturation of highly photoshopped images of amazing bodies we’re surrounded with it’s no wonder young girls and guys have such unrealistic desires for their own bodies.

It took me about 10 years and my first child to realise that modelling wasn’t for me and I couldn’t handle the constant judgement of my face and body; something that is totally out of my control.

It wasn’t until a few years later when I was asked by multiple people if my son had ADHD that I really started to become interested in nutrition.

Removing sugar and processed foods from our diets had such a profound effect on my son, it made me start to scrutinise everything we were eating.

I soon realised that even a typical healthy diet can be laden with sugar and even nastier chemicals.

It got me thinking that if most people’s diets are filled with these chemicals, it’s no wonder disease rates are climbing so fast.

I wondered about what would have happened if I didn’t turn to my son’s diet first, and instead decided to take him to a psychologist for his behavioural issues.

I spent the next 5 years changing the way we ate as a family. I went through an immense amount of stress in doing so, and it was one of the hardest challenges I’ve faced.

I spent countless hours researching with podcasts and articles and it opened my eyes to the sheer number of health issues that can be triggered by eating a standard Australian diet.

 

 

Health in Australia

Currently over two thirds of the Australian adult population are overweight or obese and these numbers are rising.

The fact that 1 in 4 children are overweight or obese is just staggering, it’s absolutely heartbreaking! Obviously we are doing something wrong. It’s not just the weight, we also have rapidly rising numbers of chronic illness’, such as asthma, arthritis, depression, and diabetes.

Through my journey, I’ve heard a countless number of stories in which people have rid themselves of these diseases and found their way to good health purely through changing their lifestyle and nutrition. This inspired me to help others to do the same, and raise the next generation to be conscious of their health so the current crisis doesn’t continue on the same trajectory.

There are a lot of mysteries surrounding health, and most commonly, nutrition. We’ve been told so many opposing arguments that it’s hard to know where to turn and who to trust. We’ve been told that meat causes cancer, fat makes us fat, diet coke is better for us, margarine is healthier than butter, and the list goes on.

For decades, most of the population believed low-fat was the way to go. We started looking at diet this, and low-fat that.

Ironically, the more low-fat foods we ate as a nation, the fatter we became.

With literally thousands of diets, our options are close to endless. But if anything, I think it’s time we move away from counting calories and trying to lose weight, and start to consider weight-loss as a byproduct of a healthy lifestyle.

With a shift in mindset around diet, and the ability to enjoy the foods you love without total deprivation, there will be even better outcomes than losing weight.

 

Our Values

Don’t get me wrong though, I absolutely love food. I love butter, bacon, ice cream, and beer. I couldn’t think of anything worse than depriving myself of one of life’s greatest pleasures.

I feel like we can create a healthy relationship with food so we can still enjoy the things we love, but also have the ability to practice moderation and to read our bodies to know what’s serving us.

I’m hoping to help people to reconnect with their body and learn to listen to the body’s signals so they can avoid ill health and achieve their potential.

While rates of chronic illness and obesity continue to climb at an alarming rate, confusion around how to solve it continues. Most people are shocked to learn that over 85% of these diseases are driven by behaviour and environment and not our genes. That means we have the power to prevent or reverse chronic illness by adopting healthier habits.

As simple as that sounds, change is anything but easy. It takes drive, motivation, and strategy to change our habits—especially if we’ve been doing things a certain way for a long time.

Most of all however, it takes support. This is where a health coach comes in to play. My goal as a health coach is to empower people to create a sustainable lifestyle that brings long term health and vitality.

So, are you ready to take the step to focus on you and your health. You may be living healthily but are you living optimally? Do you want to lose weight, feel more energy, stress less, sleep better, and learn how to cook healthy meals to nourish yourself? Are you overwhelmed by all the nutrition information out there and want to work out what’s right for you?

Book your free consultation and we can delve into how you can achieve your health goals and, as a result, live your optimal life.

We want to empower you to recalibrate your relationship with food so you can create a healthy lifestyle that is both sustainable and enjoyable.

We all have the best intentions when setting new health goals, but the truth of the matter is that we often give up soon after starting, especially if weight loss starts to plateau or if it all becomes too difficult.

Having a health coach to be an accountability partner will help you to see your goals through, to the point where it becomes second nature.

If you would like to discuss your current state of health and address what could be standing in your way of achieving optimal health, book your free consultation and make a plan for a better future.

I look forward to hearing from you!