Ask Mira:: Miranda’s Big Smoothie Guide

Oh boy, have I had an absolute plethora of requests for this from you guys! And it makes me so chuffed! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed me testing out some smoothie recipes this week. Its actually stimulated a lot of motivation for me, so thank you for that!

I’ll start this all off with a very detailed request from Ainslie, sent via Facebook:

“Hi Miranda, how are you? I need some inspiration from you please :) I really struggle eating in the mornings, it makes me feel really ill when I eat so I’m looking into having smoothies for breakfast so I’m getting something rather than skipping breakfast all together. Do you have any recommendations on good smoothie recipes that will give me everything I need and really help to boost my metabolism? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks :)

Thanks for your request Ainslie, I’ve developed a few recipes for you that are sure to increase your metabolism, and what sounds like a sluggish digestive system – your tummy will be rumbling in no time! Continue reading

Apps for Health & Wellness

If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of time on your phone. Between texting, calling, emailing, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Google Maps, TransLink Journey Planner and apps for managing both my Facebook page and my blog, there is a lot that I get done on my phone every day. But, as you know, one of the best things about having a smart phone is that there is an app for everything, however, this doesn’t always mean that every app is awesome, so in no particular order, I thought I’d list a few of my favourite health and wellness apps to help make your life a little easier. Continue reading

How to Live (Happily) with Food Intolerance

With increased awareness and understanding, over 17% of the Australian population (that’s 3.7 million people) are avoiding particular foods due to allergy or intolerance. Whenever I meet someone new, one of the most common things I am told about or asked about is that person’s (or their friend or family member’s) food intolerance or allergy, and how hard it is for them to find out what to eat or for them to actually stop eating the food that gives them their symptoms. Often, people are unwilling to completely remove said foods from their diet (I certainly was) and have an emotional attachment that makes them feel like they are missing out or feel that the food is a comfort to them, so continue to eat the food, or even worse – binge eat the food.
With this in mind, I thought that I would discuss my tips on living with a food intolerance, mixed with a bit of tough love, because you may not really realise, but by eating the food you are intolerant to, you are setting yourself up for a lot of damage.

Continue reading

Sugarfree September

There’s been a lot of stuff going around the media and the internet lately about quitting sugar – a lot of it saying that its bad for you or too extreme, but on the most part that it can be a really good way to get your health in control, which is certainly my perspective.

Have you heard of ‘I Quit Sugar’, the movement created by Sarah Wilson? I for one think it’s a fantastic direction as far as the health world is concerned. I’ve followed Sarah Wilson’s blog for years now – in fact I remember when she first Quit Sugar, as an experiment when she had nothing else to write about for her health column at the time.

From the outside, it can seem like Sarah Wilson’s lifestyle and expectations are unrealistic and unattainable for an everyday person, which I believe is the reason she cops so much flak Continue reading

Status Update (including some exciting news!!)

As its been a while since I posted a blog, and I have some exciting news, I thought that maybe I should give you lovely people an update.

The view of the glorious snow-capped Mt Bogong from my Mum's driveway in Mt Beauty

The view of the glorious snow-capped Mt Bogong from my Mum’s driveway in Mt Beauty

 

Essential healthy road trip snacks while giving Louie some fresh air - coconut yoghurt, fruit and nuts

Essential healthy road trip snacks while giving Louie some fresh air – coconut yoghurt, fruit and nuts

You may have noticed on my Instagram that I have been on a bit of a road trip back to my gorgeous home town of Mt Beauty to see my long time lady-friend, Laura, and the wonderful Josh tie the knot!

Photo by Sybrena Pahina

Photo by Sybrena Pahina

After quite a hard slog personally, they managed to put together the wedding of their dreams, complete with a cake made entirely of cheese wheels, mulled wine, a photoshoot in the snow, and plenty of giggles! I had the privilege of being a very big part of the wedding, helping wherever I could both up here and in Mt Beauty around the day. I even got to help make the wedding favours with Josh; cauliflower pickle, capsicum relish and pineapple and vanilla jam, with the labels I handwrote, to boot! It really was a fabulous day, with Laura texting me two days later; “Is it just me, or did I have the BEST WEDDING EVER?!!” (Classic Laura quote).

Handmade with love

Handmade with love

Before all this, in a moment of pure spontaneity, I hopped on a bus to buy some groceries for breakfast, but instead decided to ride the bus over to Carindale and get a haircut – just like that. I was in a bit of a rut and remembered the last time that I did a dramatic chop was a big moment of change for me, so in the spirit of that, I cut my hair in a way I had half-heartedly considered and I have not looked back. As soon as I my haircut was done, I walked into one shop, found one outfit, tried it on and knew that it was the exact thing that I was looking for to wear to the wedding (alas, the only photo I have of said outfit is of me in that changeroom). For someone like me who rarely has money to spend on such things, a moment like that means a hell of a lot. And now, when I get dressed in the morning I feel like my bubbly, sassy, baben self again – completely worth it!

Feelin my baben self!

Feelin my baben self!

” A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life” – Coco Chanel

The outfit in question

The outfit in question

***MOST IMPORTANTLY***

I have also (very excitedly) been putting together my very own nutritional medicine and wellness coaching business – Miranda’s Wellness . This will be an interactive way for me to help you achieve your wellness goals and individualise the knowledge I have gained from 4 1/2 years of study to suit your health needs on a face-to-face basis, and I cannot wait to get started! My nutritional medicine and wellness coaching consultations will be available in the South Brisbane area, with a few extra services I’ll be giving you teasers about over the next few weeks.

I keep telling everyone that I feel equal parts terrified and excited, but I suppose that is just a sign that I am really passionate about the whole thing. I have already changed the banner on my blog and plan on putting in a few more changes bit by bit until I’m ready to launch (sometime within the next three weeks).

If you’d like to know more, please feel free to email me at mirandaswellness@outlook.com.

 

 

What have you been up to?

 

 

What I’ve Learnt from not Having a Car

It’s been about six months now that I’ve been living without a car. I mean, I do own one, its just sitting in a paddock somewhere in Wodonga quietly rusting until I save up enough to get it running again. Anyway, here in Brisbane I don’t have a car, so I’ve had to figure out how to get by without one.

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It may seem like a completely daunting task for some (especially here in Brisbane, where most people I’ve spoken to would rather not use public transport), but honestly, it hasn’t been too bad. While I can’t just jump in a car and go to a shop, friend’s houses or restaurants on a whim, I’ve had to rely on public transport and my own two feet, and for the majority of the time its been a positive experience, so I’d like to share with you some of the things I’ve learned from it.

1. Patience

Brisbane’s transport system is made up of mostly buses, some trains, catamarans (known as the CityCat) and ferries. Its not the most amazing system (with transport less frequent than it is in Melbourne), and the TransLink journey planner is useless if you don’t have a map of the city in your head, but for the most part, especially with practice, it gets the job done.

I usually take buses to get around this gorgeous city, and honestly, they aren’t always on time, and buses being buses, they are affected by local traffic if your bus line isn’t lucky enough to be on a busway (a highway specifically for buses – its fantastic!). At first, the lack of punctuality from the bus lines can be rather frustrating, but I’ve realised that there is no point getting worked up about it. The reality is, no amount of frustration is going to get the bus moving any quicker. Instead, I just pop in my headphones and enjoy the time that I have. Its a useful time to make a shopping list, plan a date with a friend or read a book, which is a much more positive experience than fretting that I’ll be late.

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2. Punctuality

My punctuality hasn’t always been perfect, but through having to rely on something else to get me somewhere has forced my hand to get organised and more often than not I get where I need to be earlier than intended, and with everything I need with me, too! (Unbelievable, I know!) I’ve got a fairly accurate estimation in my head of how long it will take for me to get anywhere (either by foot or public transport) and if not, I just use the journey planner. But, for example, walking, I can get to Woolloongabba in 20 minutes, South Bank in 30-40, the CBD in 50-60, The Valley in 55, while through public transport I usually take about 15 minutes off most of those values and that’s fairly accurate. (Oh, and the CityCat will get me to Ascot in an hour – see, I’ve totes got it down pat). So as long as I leave the house with that amount spare, I’ll get there on time. I know that these times will not change (unless I run) so I plan around it and arrive wherever I need to be, very calm and on time, which makes me feel super!

3. Its much easier to get exercise

Sometimes the difference in time to get somewhere via public transport, including walking to the stop, waiting for the transport to arrive, etc, compared to just walking the whole way there is negligible. And if you’re a fan of running or cycling, it is even faster. I often opt for walking places – even if I just walk one way – because it increases my incidental exercise for the day, so I’m walking rather than sitting again, it gives me a chance to listen to beautiful music, my brain get a chance to churn through whatever is concerning me at the time (good or bad), my cortisol (the stress hormone) is broken down through my exercise, improving my wellbeing and sleep onset, the glucose in my blood is taken up into my muscles (a mechanism of transporters called GLUT-4) to be used for energy by the cells and reducing the reliance on insulin for this mechanism, and its free!

If you have to carry something, you are also making your muscles stronger, which in turn improves the strength of your bones. Really, its a very positive way to transport yourself around, in my book.

4. I’m more capable than I realise

Its one of those motivational spiels that you hear all the time, but its only when you are tested that you recognise this within yourself. Having no car presents many challenges – the grocery shopping is probably the hardest and most common of these challenges, but navigating, especially around a new city, and just carrying heavy things in general are probably the most difficult challenges when you don’t have a car.

I have a habit of getting a bit over-excited when I grocery shop, and if I happen to be a bit low on my Go-Card (bus ticket card thingy), I have to then walk my groceries home on a walk that would usually take 20 minutes without heavy groceries (I buy a lot of heavy vegetables, whole chicken, tinned vegetables and oil in glass jars) – usually 35-40minutes home if you include stopping, which sometimes has to happen when I haven’t thought things through. During this walk home (which I have now completed countless times) I’m desperately willing random strangers to take pity on me and help me out, and oh my goodness, do I ever feel sorry for myself! But in the end, every time, I make it home, I’m still alive, my food is fine and my arms are just a tad stronger than they were before I went shopping (even if they do hurt for a few days afterwards). The point is, I get shit done. I have to. I have no choice. I chose to spend my last dollars on groceries and toilet paper – things I need to survive – and if I don’t walk it home, struggling the whole way, its not going to walk itself to my house, so I push on, and realise, hey, I did it. And it really wasn’t so bad.

I’ve also managed to develop the map of Brisbane in my head. So much so that I can direct people who have lived here much longer, with accuracy (which always feels good). Its a comfort, because I am starting to know at the very least, vague directions to walk, which buses to take and where the nearest bus/train/ferry/CityCat stop is in order to get me where I need to go. I have a similar map in my head of the trains/trams/buses of Melbourne that I developed over 3 years of living there, which always makes me happy when I go back to visit my friends and venture around – it just makes life easier.

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5. I am not a superwoman

No matter how resourceful I’ve managed to become over the last few months, I’ve had to face facts that I can’t do it all. Sometimes I have bought too many groceries and need to take the bus. Sometimes I have no idea where I’m going, and I will get lost. Sometimes if I’m given too short notice of something, I can’t get there in time. And sometimes, I will have to walk home in the rain without an umbrella because there is just no way around it. But that’s ok.

When I was incredibly sick at the end of semester I had no other way to get to the doctor than taking a taxi, and to be honest, I preferred it. I wasn’t relying on/burdening anyone else, I wasn’t going to pass out walking there in a park or on the bus, and I felt safe and independent knowing that taking a taxi was an option. It did take a chunk out of my student budget, but boy was it worth it.

 

How do you get around? Are you a fan of public transport? Would you opt for walking instead of your usual transport after reading this post? Or does it just seem all too hard. Let me know in the comments below.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @mirandaswellness

Miranda’s Famous Chicken Soup

Chicken soup 1

With all these frosty nights lately, there is nothing better than a chicken soup to warm up your body (and your heart). My chicken soup recipe has been highly requested, by friends, housemates and some of you out there in cyberspace, so it is without further ado that I share said recipe here.

The thing with this recipe is that it has slowly evolved over time to become the gorgeous masterpiece that it is. When I make it, I use my own chicken broth (or stock) and usually put in chicken from the whole chicken I roast the night before. However, at times, if I don’t have a whole chicken, I often will buy chicken cutlets with the skin on and cook them, starting skin-side down, in the bottom of the pan before adding the vegetables (it just means removing, cooling and pulling them apart and adding the meat back in at the end of the cooking process). I will often use up vegetables if I have them (eg. Broccoli stalk, celery tops, cabbage, wombok) to give the soup a bit more body, but listed below are the ingredients I will generally use. It does seem like a lot of ingredients, but it is well worth it and dead easy, I assure you!

This is a great one to make at the start of the week and reheat the leftovers throughout the week, it keeps for up to four days in the fridge and in the freezer for a little longer. Just make sure you bring it to the boil when you reheat it.

Miranda’s Famous Chicken Soup

chicken soup 2

Ingredients

GROUP 1

1tb coconut oil

1tsp sesame oil

1 brown onion OR 4-6 spring onions, diced

2-3 carrots, quartered lengthways, then diced

1-2 stalks celery, sliced lengthways, then diced

1 broccoli stalk, diced (optional)

GROUP 2

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3cm fresh ginger, grated

1tsp chilli flakes (or 1 chilli finely chopped)

GROUP 3

1 litre chicken stock (plus 1 litre water)

2 x star anise

1 x cinnamon stick

2tb fresh coriander

1tb honey

1tsp fish sauce

2tb tamari (gluten free soy sauce)

1tb rice wine vinegar

GROUP 4

¼ to ½ a green cabbage, sliced thinly

500g shredded chicken (or chicken from a whole roasted chicken)

1 heaped tb fresh miso paste *buy the kind that you find in the fridge (usually at Asian grocers) and is MSG free (you may have to do a bit of label reading to find this, but the Spiral brand is usually quite good)

Juice of 1 lime (optional)

chicken soup 3

Directions

This recipe is divided into groups to make it easier to determine which ingredients you add when. I will of course go into a bit of detail for each section, but I find the separation can make it easier when you are cooking.

Firstly, in a very large saucepan heated on a high heat, add the oil and when the pot is warm, add the rest of the Group 1 ingredients with a sprinkle of salt and saute, stirring for 4-5 minutes, or until these ingredients are softened.

Add the Group 2 ingredients and cook, stirring for another minute, or until fragrant.

Add the Group 3 ingredients, starting with the stock and extra water to prevent the ingredients already in the pot from burning. Bring the pot to the boil and reduce to a simmer with the lid on. It needs to simmer for at least 30 minutes. I like to simmer this for an hour, and it can go up to two hours cooking if you like, just keep an eye on the water level.

Right before you serve the soup, add the Group 4 ingredients, stir, and replace the lid. Let the soup simmer for at least 5 minutes, or until the cabbage is soft. (If you started with raw chicken cutlets, this is where you would take them out, allow them to cook, shred the chicken and add back to the broth.

Serve this broth nice and hot, and don’t worry about bread – this is full of protein and fibre, even if you do come back for seconds, it will only do you good.

Adjust to taste if you need to – perhaps more rice wine vinegar, more soy, more lime, more honey, more miso, more chilli?

Let me know if you give this a go – you can Instagram a photo @mirandaswellness with the hashtag #mirandaswellness – I’d love to see your creations!

Stay warm!