decadent chocolate cake that’s good for you

decadent chocolate cake that’s good for you

decadent chocolate cake

The joys of finding a way to take really healthy food and make  it taste really naughty is one of my favourite past times. And of course feeding people that I love.
I recently made a really delicious chocolate that is:

  • low carb
  • gluten free
  • sugar free
  • dairy free

and yet incredibly moist and actually good for you. The eaters of this cake were so impressed (as was I to be honest, I didn’t think it would turn out this good) that they asked me to share the recipe. So here it is:
decadent chocolate cake that’s good for you

1/2 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup coconut milk

9 eggs

1 cup of stevia (I just used one of those tube packs of Natvia)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup sifted coconut flour (high in protein and low in carbs)

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

In a large bowl sift the coconut flour salt and baking powder together.
Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan and add the cocoa powder and coconut milk.
In yet another bowl crack the eggs, add vanilla and sugar and blend with a hand held blender.
Then add the melted chocolate and coconut concoction to the egg mixture and blend again until smooth.
Now add the sifted flour mixture and stir until you achieve a smooth and delicious consistency.
Finally pour the mixture into a well greased (use coconut oil for the flavour) cake tin and place into a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
It should take about 35 to 40 minutes or until the knife comes out clean when you insert it into the centre. I think it tastes best when still warm and fresh from the oven.
Enjoy, and make sure you have plenty of friends around to share it with otherwise you may end up eating every last morsel yourself! (Though it’s healthy enough to actually do that so no guilt!)
I served mine with a mixed berry coulees which I made by getting frozen berries and heating them on the stove with a spoonful of honey until warm and some salted carmel ice-cream that a very generous guest left in our freezer after a dinner party.

less is more: minimalism + why “stuff” doesn’t make your happy

less is more: minimalism + why “stuff” doesn’t make your happy

Over the past few years I have observed a steadily growing trend around minimalism and the rejection of owning huge collections of personal belongings. And this is a trend I actually really like… It’s very “me”. Don’t get me wrong I love stuff, especially beautiful, expensive, endearing, shiny, sparkly stuff, stuff that makes me feel good. However they key here is on how it makes me FEEL. I strongly dislike clutter and waste. I would even use the word hate here.
To be completely honest, I don’t agree with using the term minimalism but people often feel the need to label things in order to understand them so we will just go with that for now, won’t we! To me it’s more of a lifestyle choice, something that makes sense to me…’s part of my personal journey and it makes me feel good to have a handle on how much stuff I have and aspire to own. Minimalism is also one of the core concepts of Buddhism (but they don’t call it that, clearly!).
What I am seeing now is that we are the new generation of consumers who recognise the value of experiences and information over material possessions. We want to feel something, experience something, remember something from the purchases we make rather than just have a pile of plastic with made in china printed down the side to show for the hours that we work and the money that we earn. We see the value in life to be greater than the value in things. We recognise that our sense of self is not built through the ownership of grand collections of things but rather by the exotic collections of memories, stories and experiences that we take with us through our lives.
Have we perhaps learnt this from the forbearing generations of mass consumers and waste-makers that have died with the regret of not spending enough time with loved ones and fully enjoying their life while they had it? Or perhaps has it been the global financial crisis that has shocked us into acknowledging the disparity between having stuff and enjoying the simple things in life?
I would say that the inclination towards a simpler life it is a culmination of both these factors plus many more, engulfed in our natural progression and evolution into a better, greater, happier life and world.
How much stuff is a lot or a little is also very individual and perspective based. My younger sister thinks that I hardly own anything. A friend of mine who visited me recently said I had lots of stuff.
According to me – I have just the right amount – enough to comfortably cover all my first-world needs and wants but not too much. I am the opposite of a hoarder. Is there a word for that? Sometimes to my own detriment, when I regret throwing something out, but mostly to my benefit. I consistently de-clutter my life and give away as much as I can to friends or charity shops when I have no need or use for it any longer, because I deeply dislike the sense of having too much stuff filling my life. I need white space to think + breathe + create. I spend all my money on rent, good food, music, books, learning, gigs, technology, travel and clothes. On knowledge, joy and memories. In my mind clothes equate to being an experience as they colour and flavour the events I attend in my mind and help create special memories. As in “remember that time I wore those sparkly silver leggings to dinner and the magician who did those amazing card tricks was really hot?” (true story).
The minimalist trend is lead by people like the fascinatingly talented writer Ev Bogue who wrote about his experiences of living with as few physical possessions as possible which bottomed out at 47 in May 2010. He shared his journey of living his life simply, joyfully, abundantly without having a huge collection of attachments to cart around, with millions of readers and has inspired many to join him on this path. Leo Babauta from Zen Habits continuously shares his vision on living simply, minimalistic with scores of hints, tips and insights from his own practices to fuel the fire of why less is more. He recognises that focusing on happiness and creating an amazing life through experiences is less about the things that you own and more about the moments of joy you create.
The Guardian in the UK recently printed a story on the falling rates of consumerism which is fascinating and in my opinion very exciting. We’re all on the same path with recognising that having stuff doesn’t make is any happier and in fact can add stress in our lives.
This movement towards “less is more” has spread into other areas of our lives: smaller homes, more white spaces in design and visual output, websites, simplifying businesses, jobs, offices and obviously our trend setters of technology such as Apple. We value our time + relationships + lifestyles over working ourselves to the bone until we crash and burn just to keep up with the Joneses of the world (which by the way is also called conspicuous consumption). We also consider the greater impacts of our actions: environmentally having less means creating less of a carbon footprint, it creates more freedom, more time and saves more money.
On that note, I love spending my money. On high quality, expensive things and experiences. But perhaps fewer of them. For me life is more about process rather than content. I really treasure and care for the things that I own. I’m not wasteful. And I know that for me, out of sight is out of mind. If I can’t see it, I probably won’t remember to use it… I make everything as visually accessible as possible while also making my home look lovely. I live in what some would call a tiny studio apartment. It is basically a bedroom with a bathroom and tiny kitchenette. I love, adore and cherish it.  It has everything I need. It is my very own sacred space. And I have a million dollar view of Rushcutters Bay with the boats sailing across the glittering Sydney Harbour and even a corner of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Do I need more? No. Thank you. I am deeply content and happy with what I have.
As Graham Hill says in his TED talk below “let’s make room for the good stuff”.

you are the sunshine of my life: get your facts straight

you are the sunshine of my life: get your facts straight

I must admit that I wasn’t surprised when my doctor told me about 6 weeks ago that my main deficiency was Vitamin D. It had been a long, cold winter and I could feel the effects of SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder playing havoc with my moods and body.
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin as the body makes Vitamin D when the skin is directly exposed to the sun. Vitamin D sufficiency, along with diet and exercise, has emerged as one of the most important preventive factors in human health. Hundreds of studies now link vitamin D deficiency with significantly higher rates of many forms of cancer‚ as well as heart disease‚ osteoporosis‚ multiple sclerosis and many other conditions and diseases.
It is estimated that up to 90% of Australians suffer from Vitamin D deficiency, and the numbers are only rising as people continue to abstain from a life supporting nutrient that you can get simply by going outside.
Unfortunately we currently live in a society that has deemed sunshine to be as harmful a real toxic concerns such as smoking, poor diet and unhealthy lifestyles. It makes me think about how much money the manufacturers of sun block are making each day, and isn’t it them indeed who facilitate those studies that show how harmful sunshine is?
There answer is of course moderation as with anything. It is recommended that we all get at least 30 minutes a day of sunlight directly onto our skin, however keep out of the sun during the hours of 11am and 2pm. Sounds quite reasonable really!
Here are 11 facts about Vitamin D that you probably never knew, written by Mike Adams based on an interview with the author of The UV Advantage, Michael Holick:

  1. The further you live from the equator, the longer exposure you need to the sun in order to generate vitamin D.
  2. People with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 – 30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D. That’s why prostate cancer is epidemic among black men — it’s a simple, but widespread, sunlight deficiency.
  3. Sufficient levels of vitamin D are crucial for calcium absorption in your intestines. Without sufficient vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium, rendering calcium supplements useless.
  4. Chronic vitamin D deficiency cannot be reversed overnight: it takes months of vitamin D supplementation and sunlight exposure to rebuild the body’s bones and nervous system.
  5. Even weak sunscreens (SPF=8) block your body’s ability to generate vitamin D by 95%. This is how sunscreen products actually cause disease – by creating a critical vitamin deficiency in the body.
  6. It is impossible to generate too much vitamin D in your body from sunlight exposure: your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs.
  7. If it hurts to press firmly on your sternum, you may be suffering from chronic vitamin D deficiency right now.
  8. Vitamin D is “activated” in your body by your kidneys and liver before it can be used.
  9. Having kidney disease or liver damage can greatly impair your body’s ability to activate circulating vitamin D.
  10. The sunscreen industry doesn’t want you to know that your body actually needs sunlight exposure because that realization would mean lower sales of sunscreen products.
  11. Even though vitamin D is one of the most powerful healing chemicals in your body, your body makes it absolutely free. No prescription required.

Image source.

the infamous NOT to do list

the infamous NOT to do list

I’ve been writing about creativity and productivity lately and to continue on in that stream of thought I wanted to write about the lists we make to keep a mental check on everything.
You’re having a creative influx yet are feeling the impending of your TO DO list. Everyone loves a good to do list yet there are list makers and there are list makers. I belong in the first category: to do lists are beautiful written out, neatly forgotten about and re-written at some later date. I keep most of it in my head – it’s effective up there. Lists only work for me if the tasks at hand are too huge to handle at once and need to be broken down into many smaller parts in order to function.
Then there are some of you who make incredible, fabulous and seemingly endless to do lists using incredible programs and platforms to organise them (yes, I am looking at you Virgo’s!) and keep their lists in check.
I find that to do lists never actually end, we always find something additional to include as we juggle priorities. Or we entirely avoid certain tasks which remain on that list for months on end finding a multitude of other MORE IMPORTANT things to do such as scrubbing the tiles in the bathroom (yuck) until one day we finally scrape up the courage to tackle them only to find that it wasn’t that bad after all, was it?
There is however, an extraordinarily simple and radically different approach to the to do list. The NOT to do list. It works effectively under the premise to give you the time to actually focus on the things that are important and add value to your life and to your work. It’s about clearing the clutter from your mind, absolving unnecessary extra duties and simplifying your life so it runs smoother, better, easier. And you have more time for the beach or to go out for wine.
The NOT to do list helps you get out of your own way and allows your creativity to flow more productively. Let’s cut to the chase by focusing our energies on what is truly beneficial for us.
My current NOT do list goes a bit like this:

  1. Don’t check emails more than twice a day. The same goes for Facebook + Twitter. Any more is truly a waste of my time.
  2. Don’t try to multi-task. It’s such an easy trap to fall into and it FEELS so productive but in fact it does the opposite. It’s important to remain present with each task at hand.
  3. Don’t rush. Ever. Rushing causes me to come off balance.
  4. Don’t say YES when deep down I actually want to say NO.
  5. Don’t expect to get it right or perfect or excellent the first time, every time.
  6. Don’t push myself when things aren’t flowing. Step away. Breathe. Do something else. The best work unfolds on its own. Resistance means NO. Stop. Effortless inspiration means YES. Go.
  7. Don’t worry about what other people are thinking. It’s none of my business anyway.
  8. Don’t worry in general. It is futile and wastes precious moments.
  9. Don’t indulge in negative self-talk. When doubts and insecurities cloud over, it’s time for a change. Take a nap. Walk in the grass. Smile.
  10. Don’t expect to know everything. You always know exactly enough of what you need in every moment.
  11. Don’t do things the way other people do them just because they say that’s the way things are done. Think it over and find the best possible solution. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are not.
  12. Don’t feel guilty. About anything. Ever. You and everyone else is always doing the best they possibly can.
5 steps to being intuitive from dr judith orloff

5 steps to being intuitive from dr judith orloff

If you have ever wanted to get in touch with and strengthen your intuition, then Dr Judith Orloff can show you the way. Here a 5 steps to for intuitive healing:
Step 1: Notice Your Beliefs
Positive attitudes stimulate growth. Negative attitudes impede it. It’s important to rid yourself of counterproductive attitudes that you may not even realize you have. If you examine your beliefs, choose life-enhancing ones, you’ll create optimal wellbeing. No organ system stands apart from your thoughts. Your beliefs program your neurochemicals. I’m not suggesting that you be Pollyannish, but that you be completely true to yourself. This will free you from unconscious negative beliefs that can sabotage your healing.
Step 2: Be In Your Body
Your body is a complex and sensitive intuitive receptor. Most people in Western society are conditioned to live from the neck up, ignoring the rest of their body. This stance is counter-intuitive. I’d like you to shift that perspective-to enjoy your intellect but revel in your physicality as well. Being aware of the sensuousness of your body opens intuition. Then you’ll become more cognizant of early warning signs your body sends. womens health. This gives you a head-start on preventing illness, choosing healthy relationships, and avoiding detrimental situations.
Step 3: Sense Your Body’s Subtle Energy
We are composed of flesh and blood, but also of subtle energy. Chinese Medical Practitioners call it “chi,” a vital substance which penetrates the body and extends many feet beyond it. From an intuitive point of view, these vibrantly colored energy fields, whose centers are called chakras have a significant effect on our health. For that reason, it is important that we learn to sense this energy within us, recognize when it is off, and learn to correct the imbalance. Feeling energy can be very sensual, an extension of love. Learning to tap into your body’s energy is healing.
Step 4: Ask for Inner Guidance
We each possess an intuitive voice that contains answers about our healing. Because our intellect is often so loud, this voice often gets drowned out. It’s essential that we learn to access the stillness within–though meditation, quite contemplation, connecting with nature, prayer-in order to gain answers. Spend a few minutes each day devoted to listening to this voice. It may appear as a gut feeling, a hunch, an image, a sound, a memory, an instant knowing-as if a light bulb suddenly switched on.

. Learn to trust the signals your inner wisdom sends.
Step 5: Listen To Your Dreams
Intuition is the language of dreams. Every ninety minutes each night during the REM stage of sleep, we dream. Dreams provide answers about health, relationships, career choices, any new direction. There should be no situations in everyday life when a few hours of difference in the drug intake can play a significant role. Learn more at If such situation happens, the actions to resolve it should be carried out in a hospital, and probably with the help of other medicines. The secret is to remember them. I suggest keeping a dream journal by your bed. Before you go to sleep, ask a dream a question. For instance, “Is this relationship healthy for me or should I move on?” The next morning, write down any dreams immediately before getting out of bed. Try repeating the question, every night for the next week until your answer comes. As you develop the habit of remembering dreams, you’ll be able to benefit from this form of healing. As a physician, I have a continual sense of awe for the relationship between body and spirit. As your heart opens, so does your intuition. Your intuition will teach you how to see and how to love. It will instill in you a renewed faith to face anything.
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