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
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
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.
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!
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).
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!
” A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life” – Coco Chanel
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 email@example.com.
What have you been up to?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3cm fresh ginger, grated
1tsp chilli flakes (or 1 chilli finely chopped)
1 litre chicken stock (plus 1 litre water)
2 x star anise
1 x cinnamon stick
2tb fresh coriander
1tsp fish sauce
2tb tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
1tb rice wine vinegar
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)
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!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my feelings about feminism and how they relate to my wellness journey, so that I could share with you why being a proud feminist is so important to me.
Firstly – what is feminism?
Feminism is, simply, the belief that women deserve the same rights as men. It’s not about burning your bra, hating men, or being “anti-family”, but rather about standing up for the respect and rights of women in an equal way to men.
Because of a small group of very extremist feminists, the word ‘feminism’ is not something that many of us feel they want to associate themselves with, despite upholding feminist beliefs. I’ve even had discussions with some of the men in my life who may have rolled their eyes when I’ve said that I am a feminist or who didn’t even realise that feminism was a thing, but because I only associate myself with the dudest of dudes, these conversations have only brought about more understanding of the world on their part, and sometimes the realisations that they themselves are feminists – yes, you can be a feminist without being a woman, you may also call this “Being A Decent Human Being”.
But to me, being a feminist has never been something I was ashamed of, even without the label ‘feminist’ I always knew I felt strongly about women’s rights. I remember being teased in High School for specifically saying the word “passionate” when it came to the horrific practices of female genital mutilation and child prostitution I had been learning about at the time – apparently the word “passionate” was funny… yeah, I still don’t get it – and I remember standing up to said idiot saying “What’s wrong with the word passionate? I am passionate. How can you not be passionate with all these awful things in the world?” (a rare moment of confidence for a 15 year old me). As I grew older, I was properly introduced to the term ‘feminist’ and realising that I was one was all the more empowering for me.
But what does this have to do with wellness? Everything, my darlings, absolutely everything!
Feminism is a great thing for wellness, because your pursuit of wellness becomes less about the way you look, and “proving people wrong”, and more about proving to yourself what you are capable of and making the right choices for the benefit of your own health. Of course, there will always be a component of vanity within it all, but as long as you are not judging yourself (or others) on the way you look, I believe that is an important distinction. I am a realist after all, and I can’t pretend I don’t feel great if I think I look great.
For the most part, I believe it has absolutely everything to do with your self esteem. One of the hardest things about being a female in the modern world is dealing with the judgement of others. Even before you go out into the world, your brain is analysing you and telling you all of the ways that you will be judged, because the reality is, at one point or another you have unfairly judged another woman about the way she looks/acts/walks/speaks because it made you feel better about yourself. Of course, I have done this. Once upon a time I lived in a small town, I had shitty self esteem and I was in an unhealthy circle of friends where we all judged each other and those around us. All of these negative words about other people only bring more negativity (even if we only say them in our heads) so I believe that by becoming the sort of person who stops themselves (and others) from being judgemental, you end up realising all the good in not only yourself, but those around you. The reality is, now that I have been around some of the most inspirational women I know, I’ve engaged in stimulating conversations, read empowering feminist articles, watched Ted Talks, gotten to know myself and just grown as a human being, I have realised the detriment of these judgemental thoughts and have seen myself try to discourage these words in myself and those around me and it’s helped me to realise that I’m a total babe, and so is everyone else.
In addition, one of the best things I have done lately is to skinny dip with a good friend. I am now so at ease about being naked and bearing my belly or even my boobs, that it’s helped me love myself even more – so I urge you to try it. Your body is beautiful, and I hope that the small part of you that knows this is growing every day.
I have such an appreciation for the beauty of the women around me and love to go out of my way to tell them how totally baben they are, inside and out. Especially now that I am single, I have such a deep appreciation for my female relationships. There is something about a friendship between two women that cannot be matched by a friendship or relationship between a man and a woman. Shared experience, the ability to understand each others feelings and the inspiration you get from being around an incredible woman who has experienced different and similar things to you, is something that shapes who you are and gives you more understanding about who you are and who you want to be. This has taken time to set in for me, because for a very long time, my closest friends were men. But being self-aware is always important for your wellness journey, as it gives you strength, but if you don’t have that strength, your female friends are the best ones at giving it to you and helping you find more of your own.
Recently I have become very open about talking about sex, and how much I enjoy it. Because I don’t feel shame in having sex and enjoying sex. It bothers me when people judge me or other women about this, but on the whole, I mostly feel empowered and confident because the reality is that admitting these things just means that I am human, and quite frankly, my opinion is the only one that matters when it comes to my life (including my sex life). With this sexual empowerment comes confidence and better self-esteem, because why should we feel ashamed about enjoying sex, being naked, having breasts, or enjoying our sexuality? There is a lot of pot-kettle-black behaviour around sex, and it is way too acceptable in society to use the word ‘slut’ to make a woman feel ashamed about her sexual behaviour, while it’s rare for a man to be under the same scrutiny, while the term “man-whore” is met with grunts and high-fives as men find it empowering (I’ve literally seen men do this over the top of a dinner table covered in food). Why can’t more women be empowered by their sexuality? As long as they feel safe and are enjoying themselves, what does it matter? Being confident and accepting of your own sexuality is crucial to your wellness journey as it helps you know yourself better, gives you confidence and helps you to enjoy your life (and sex itself) more.
When you have the confidence to feel passion about the topic of feminism, you are often met with groans and eye-rolls (sorry guys, but from my experience, mostly from men), but that shouldn’t be a reason to pull back. Being a woman, despite some opinions I’ve heard, is freaking fabulous! When a group of women is at ease, we have the most heart-felt, hilarious and judgement-free conversations that provide some of the most profound insight you can imagine. So what, we have our period, which can suck at times, but at least we have an efficient way to know that our body is doing what we need it to do. Plus, as far as I’m concerned, boobs are just awesome. So, be empowered by your femininity, however it may appear (it is different for everyone), stand up for the rights and respect of yourself and every other woman in the world by politely pointing out someone else’s judgement, or stopping your own judgemental thoughts, let your own sexuality empower you, and remember that being a woman is just fantastic, because it really really is!