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Almost there… Primal Pregnancy update

My “weekly-ish” love notes haven’t been very weekly lately! But that’s okay… I think I have a valid excuse at 40 weeks pregnant. My official due date was the 1st of August which has come and gone and baby seems to still be very happy inside my (rather large) tummy!

40 weeks pregnant

Throughout my pregnancy I’ve been keeping a diary as well as lots of notes and links to all the different, wonderful and interesting articles and people that I have learnt from along the way, and once baby arrives, my plan is to take it all and put it into some sort of organised chaos for you to download and learn from if interested! I’m not sure how well that plan is going to go once baby is actually here, but the intentions are there.

In the meantime, I wanted to share an article with you that I had published in the latest issue of the LOSE IT! Magazine. I wrote it when I was around 24 weeks pregnant so I have a lot to add to it now!

Click here to download a PDF of the article, and if you’d like to purchase the full mag online, you can do so here.

I’m off to bake some primal banana muffins now and drink my morning Skinny Juice … and wait!

Send your good vibes my way 🙂

 

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South Africa’s healthiest & most delicious dark chocolate (plus to-die-for wheat-free chocolate tart recipe!)

Cocoafair - Heinrich Kotze - CEO and Thelo Van Wyk - Executive Chocolatier

Heinrich Kotze – CEO and Thelo Van Wyk – Executive Chocolatier

A few weeks back I was invited to do a chocolate tour at CocoàFair in the Old Biscuit Mill. They are known for their decadent dark chocolates which are my favourite primal treats, so of course I jumped at the opportunity.

I took my Mom along with me and Heinrich kindly took us through his chocolate factory! It was like being a kid again, learning about the chocolate making process from seeing the actual whole cocoa pod and watching the art of chocolate making taking place before my very eyes.

Chocolate-Cocoafair

CocoàFair are Africa’s first Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Factory founded on social entrepreneurship, meaning that the profits from the company go back into Cape Town’s communities to support local initiatives.

Their values and ethics as a brand are something I truly admire about them. You know that when you purchase their (very reasonably priced) chocolate, you can feel good about the fact that CocoàFair is putting your money to use by paying fair wages to farmers producing the raw materials, creating employment opportunities, and starting projects driven by social innovation that will benefit the development of communities in South Africa.

When we began the chocolate tasting part of the tour, Heinrich said he would be starting out with the 95% dark chocolate – and I was preparing my taste buds for some major bitterness…

But when that chocolate hit my tongue, I couldn’t believe it – it’s not something I can explain, this chocolate is something you need to go and experience for yourself!

It’s also extremely healthy as far as chocolate goes as it has very little sugar and no other added preservatives. They try and keep their chocolate as pure and simple as possible.

For those who try to avoid sugar all together, they have some 100% cocoa mass, roasted cocoa beans or cocoa nibs for snack time.

Chocolate-Cocoafair2

I was super chuffed on discovering this little gem of a shop as after Macadamia nuts that pack in a good 76% of fat, cocoa beans come in at 55%. However to benefit from the high fat content (the more fat the better on a primal diet), you really need to be eating as dark a chocolate as possible, which has always been a big challenge for me as I’m not so fond of the bitter taste of the usual 90% dark chocs that I find on the shelves of local supermarkets.

He even has cranberries coated in dark chocolate – no words!!

Take my advice and go experience it for yourself!

This past weekend was our good friend ‘Mr Cereal Killers‘ birthday celebration so I decided to try out a dark chocolate tart that my sister Cara Lee has spoilt me with before. I used 500grams of CocoàFair’s 95% dark chocolate and although I don’t think I got it as good as my sister’s version, it was definitely a party favourite. Even the kids were devouring it!

Wheat-free (super rich & delicious!) dark chocolate tart recipe:

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  • 500 grams of CocoàFair’s 95% dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of raw honey (you can add a little more if you want it slightly sweeter – taste the final raw mixture to test!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grinded Himalayan crystal salt
  • 6 free range eggs
  • Cocoa powder

Method:

  1. Use some coconut oil to grease a baking pan around the sides and bottom and dust with a fine layer of cocoa powder.
  2. Using another glass dish which is slightly bigger than your baking pan, fill it about half way with water.
  3. Use a layer of tin foil to wrap your baking pan and place it in the water bath and set aside.
  4. Preheat your oven to 135 degrees celcius.
  5. Using the double boiler method on the stove, heat all your chocolate and coconut oil together in a deep pot until it’s completely melted.
  6. Mix in your honey and salt.
  7. Beat your eggs in one at a time.
  8. Now carefully pour your mixture into your baking pan.
  9. Bake in the oven (in your water bath) for about 50 minutes and then remove (from oven and water bath) to cool.
  10. Once it’s room temperature, put your tart in the fridge for a few more hours to set.
  11. You can decorate it with some strawberries or raspberries and serve with a big dollop of whipped cream.
Dessert is served!

Dessert is served!

It has quite a different texture to what you’re probably used to, very dense and very rich, but absolutely divine!

Enjoy and if you try it, let me know how yours turns out!

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From a low-fat low-carb diet to high-fat all the way, meet Graeme Goode

Graeme-Goode

I met Graeme at a friends Primal dinner party a few months back and he explained to me what a difference eating low-carb high-fat had made to his training and his life, so I thought I’d catch up with him and share his story. Graeme is into MMA and hardcore guy exercize stuff… that I don’t know very much about, but I always find it interesting how well this seems to work for super active people, so if you’re one of them, Graeme is living proof that high fat is sustainable!

1. How long have you been Primal and what was your primary motivation?

Since I met Donal O’Neill in late 2012 through Louise Knoop. I was eating a low fat, low carb eating plan (steamed chicken breast, steamed broccolli/veg 3 times a day, with snacks in between – very little fat. I was also training twice a day – early morning and late afternoon, doing Jiu-Jitsu and MMA training.

He had one look at me, asked a few questions regarding what my eating was and told me about Cereal Killers. This was a Sunday – Monday I went full high fat and I haven’t looked back. I needed strength, endurance and weight loss – plus the added health benefit. I got it all from this way of eating.

2. What is the most significant benefit you’ve experienced?

I’ve just got better looking – just kidding, I have noticed a change in all aspects of my life really. I sustained 2 relatively serious shoulder injuries from Jiu-Jitsu – 2 torn rotator cuffs. I stopped training for 2 weeks and then came back hitting the anti-inflammatories hard after the training sessions.

After 1 week of repetitive use of the anti-inflams I upped the fat content and was able to train and not have as bad pain as before…weird right? I can also surf without too much discomfort – the paddling before really made me ache afterwards.

3. Do you ever cheat and if so, how often?

I do – having a wife that has a sweet tooth does not help me! I cheat on the weekend – I don’t feel great afterwards but I think you need to break away and not prevent yourself from indulging once in a while. I don’t go completely mental but I do enjoy a few sweets.

4. What’s your favourite Primal dish?

I absolutely love pork belly on the Weber with cauliflower mash and LOADS of butter!

5. Random Graeme fact?

I take shot glasses of coconut oil and olive oil as often as I can. I also cannot resist eating butter on it’s own – yum!

Thanks Graeme, not so sure if I could stomach those shots without a smoothie mix, but they definitely seem to be working for you, so I may give them a try!

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5 Questions with Carly Shankman

Carly-Shankman

Carly is the owner of popular blog Peace, Love & Kale as well as a Certified Holistic Health Coach trained through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition & a member of AADP (American Association of Drugless Practitioners).

She believes that mental, spiritual and physical health are NOT exclusive of one another and that in order to reach optimal health, we must look at the WHOLE being; your relationships, work environment, spiritual practices, exercise patterns, relationship with food and the food we are selecting to fuel our bodies.

1. How long have you been Primal and what was your primary motivation?

I was a vegetarian with bouts of veganism for 7 years and according to conventional nutrition I should have been the image of ideal health. As a vegan, I initially saw huge benefits in my health; I felt connected to my body in a way I never had before. I was predominately eating food from the Earth and this allowed me to recognize what my cravings were – instead of sugar I realized I was actually craving high quality fat, water, a walk, a friend to talk to, or a list of other things my body (or heart) was asking for. I developed a deep and connected relationship with my body and I could hear the messages clearly.

I truly had an experience with knowing that my body can only perform based off the quality of food I choose to fuel it with. I lost the college weight, my skin began to glow, my spiritual practices were deeper, and I went from a love/hate relationship with my body to a love/love relationship. It was incredible, yet I was always a couple steps away from the goals I wanted to obtain in regards to my health and body.

I continued my vegan/vegetarian diet for many years, until I started to see my health and vitality deteriorate again – I had hit a plateau and was having dreams of eating meat.

In 2012, I decided to embrace good old-fashioned meat, and overnight, I added in animal protein and more fat than I ever thought was “safe” to eat – I feasted on chicken, pork, beef, coconut, raw dairy, eggs (yolk and all ::gasp!::), avocado, and butter. The effects were instant.

Within 2 days of eating meat again, I felt strong and grounded in a way I hadn’t felt in many years. I felt like all the energy literally drained from the constant swirl around my head and flowed evenly throughout my body; my head was clear and alert. I began rockin’ the body, energy, and level of vibrancy that I had never before experienced and I felt alive, inspired and radiant. I had found the level of health that had alluded me for so long! This, I liked.

2. What is the most significant benefit you’ve experienced?

Carly ShankmanToday, I follow more of a paleo/gluten-free/Weston A. Price/do-my-best diet. I simply follow the guidelines that work for me and discard the ones that don’t. Do I drink, yes? Do I eat quinoa on the regular because it’s easy, fast, and incredibly versatile and tasty? Yes. Do I eat too much almond & cashew butter, hell yes.

But I have a deep and respectful relationship with my body which allows me to listen to the cues and cravings to know how best to fuel and service my temple.

I know for the first time in my entire life, I have a healthy, respectful, loving relationship with food. I feel strong and confident in my body, I look forward to creating new and delicious meals in the kitchen, and I feel light, radiant, and clear.

3. Do you ever cheat and if so, how often?

Hmm cheat is a hard word because cheating is like I’m deviating from some set, strict plan when in reality what I’m doing is choosing foods that allow me to be the very best, most vibrant version of myself. Are there nights when I go out and drink beer and eat pizza, absolutely. But I know my body doesn’t thrive on that so when I want it, I eat it but the majority of the time I crave true nutritious food.

4. What’s your favourite Primal dish?

ANYTHING with eggs: frittata, hash, scrambled, baked, poached – they are a powerhouse of nutrients, so easy to make and extremely versatile. I also love spaghetti squash, bacon from the farmer’s market, and raw almond butter. As for a complete meal, probably this Luscious Lemon Butter Salmon.

5. Random Carly fact?

I LOVE to dance and sing! If I wasn’t so passionate about nutrition and wellness, my dream job would be to be on stage entertaining the masses with my (offpitch) voice and badass dance moves. You can usually find me rockin’ out in the kitchen while I cook!

Haha, awesome Carly, sounds like fun! I love the way you have such a deep understanding of your own body and what it’s asking of you – thanks so much for taking the time to share your story with us.


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Eat yourself sexy like Gwyneth Paltrow: how to make your diet work for you!

Losing weight doesn’t have to be a boring, dreary experience and it shouldn’t be a short term effort either.

“I’m going on a diet” means that it’s not permanent, except we’re always after permanent results. Doesn’t really make sense does it?

gwynbook

The latest in Hollywood gossip is that Gwyneth Paltrow has been ‘depriving’ her children of ‘healthy grains’… oh dear, what a naughty irresponsible Mom she has been.

Hollywood pediatrician, Dr. Robert Hamilton was quoted to say, “I feel it’s unnecessary really, all around the world, the foundation of people’s diets are carbohydrates and sugar.”

Um, yes, quite the observation Doctor. And all around the world people are becoming fatter and unhealthier by the day.

Gwyn’s story:

In 2011, after a particularly grueling schedule and lapse of overindulgence, Gwyn was feeling fatigued and faint. A visit to her doctor revealed that she was anemic, vitamin D deficient, and that her stress levels were sky high.

He prescribed an elimination diet to clear out her system and help her body heal. But this meant no coffee, no alcohol, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no shellfish, no deep-water fish, no wheat, no meat, no soy, nothing processed at all!

An avid foodie, Gwyneth was concerned that so many restrictions would make mealtime boring, so she compiled a collection of 185 delicious, easy recipes that followed her doctor’s guidelines.

And it worked! After changing her diet, she healed totally, felt more energetic and looked great.

Gwyn’s story reminds me somewhat of my own personal health journey:

In early 2013 I had hit rock bottom in terms of how I felt about my body and my health. I was putting on more and more weight year after year, and my energy levels were steadily decreasing. The more I tried to exercize, the more tired I became.

And then to make matters worse, I spotted a grey hair. I started to believe that when you hit 30, life really does throw you a curveball…

And then thankfully, I discovered the Primal Lifestyle and everything changed.

However, like Gwyneth, I found certain elements of the Primal way of eating very boring, so I started to experiment and spice it up a bit by adding my own style. I think this is very important when embarking on a long term eating plan or ‘diet’.

If your diet is not enjoyable, you are not going to stick to it!
(it’s a tweetable!)

For example, I luuuurve honey and I luuuurve fruit. The Primal diet suggests limiting these two things to a very high degree – they say 1-3 portions of fruit per day and a little honey here and there, if any at all.

I admit I abided by this rule for my first 90 days while I was trying to get my body to lose weight quickly, and it definitely worked, but once I felt healthier, stronger and leaner, I started to expirement by re-introducing certain foods here and there to see how my body would react.

There is just no ways I can be on a diet that limits fruit. I love fruit. It makes me feel healthy and my body craves it.

I have a teeny drop of honey in every cup of tea and I love it.

I also stick to the 80/20 rule – I eat Primal for 80% of the time, maybe even 90%, but if I feel like indulging with a couple slices of pizza here and there, I do and guess what… I don’t get fat.

If I eat an entire pizza – yes, my tummy will suffer, so if I really feel like an entire pizza, then I have to go to the extra effort to make a cauliflower or almond flour base pizza, but honestly, after 2 pieces of regular pizza – your new Primal body will tell you that you’ve had enough and you’ll feel like you just ate a whole pizza anyway.

So my advice when going on any diet, is to make it work for you. You shouldn’t be feeling like you’re missing out on life just to lose a few kilo’s.

Rather embark on a lifestyle change that works for you and allows you to add some of your own personal style to make it your own. For more ideas you can check out these 16 easy primal ingredient swaps.

I’d love to hear from you – how has ‘being on a diet’ made you feel in the past? Let me know in the comments area below.

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3 Primal tips to boost your metabolism and burn more fat!

IMG_2444-2Your rate of metabolism is the difference between 2 people doing the exact same amount of exercize and following a similar eating plan, but 1 person losing more weight than the other.

If you’re eating a primal diet, your metabolism is more than likely a lot faster than it used to be, especially once you’re a few weeks in, which is why I love eating this way so much as it allows me to do way less exercize than before. Yes I’m lazy, I know.

But there are a few ways that you can start to gently speed up your metabolism so I thought I’d give you a couple tips today.

1. Eat a good breakfast every day

It’s true what they say about breakfast being the most important meal of the day. If you skip breakfast, your body goes into starvation mode (even if you don’t feel starving) and in turn your metabolism slows down to try and conserve more energy. If you eat a nice healthy breakfast, especially one with some healthy fats, your metabolism will speed up to accommodate what’s been put in. Ain’t nothing as good as your trusty bacon and eggs, but if you’re in a rush, a good old 2 minute banana pancake will do the trick.

2. Take cod liver oil supplements for your daily dose of omega-3’s

Cod liver oil stimulates the secretion of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate metabolism. Omega-3’s also reduce hunger pangs and improve blood sugar and insulin levels, and cod liver oil can also help with inflammation. So if you struggle with feeling bloated after every meal, try taking 1 tablet directly after your meal to ease your inflammation. I’ve been taking cod liver oil for months now and I can definitely feel an overall improvement in my health.

3. Short bursts of high intensity movement – get your heart rate up!

Now I’ve been fighting the battle of “1 hour of exercize x 3 times per week” my whole life. And I’m definitely not saying that’s a bad choice, I’m sure you’re a lot fitter than I am if you decide to go that route. What I do know, is that I’ve committed myself to doing very short bursts of exercize x 3 times per week and it def helps to keep me in shape and elevate my heart rate.

EPOC stands for excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption, and refers to the number of calories you burn after you’ve finished your session. Short periods of high-intensity exercise produce a far greater EPOC effect and can elevate your metabolism for longer after you’ve finished training, claims Dr. Len Kravitz, exercise physiology lecturer at the University of New Mexico. Short bursts of exercise also produce more metabolic byproducts, mainly hydrogen ions, which can further increase fat loss, writes Tina Schwager in the IDEA Fitness Journal.

So what is classified as short bursts of exercize? That depends on my mood. If my boyfriend isn’t home, I’ll blast my favourite tunes and do some crazy dance moves for 2-3 songs, I’m talking hand stands, break dancing, like, the crazy shit! It’s a lot more fun than riding a bicycle at the gym. If he is home, well then of course there is that option… 😉 which is enjoyable for both parties involved. And my other favourite move is ‘the squat’! 30 squats, done correctly in a row – don’t tell me you’re not busting a sweat bead after that!

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