Life lessons, Brazilian business men and all the clothes (at once).

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So its been a while. Like a really long while. And I kind of feel like a kid who’s dog ate their homework (because that totes really happens), full of excuses, a little bit of regret and a tone of catching up.

I have successfully landed in the world of Percy Pigs, endless cups of tea and stupidly cold temperatures (aka London), but for the last few weeks India has been my home. Although rich with colourful saris, motorbikes and cows (oh so many cows), what it lacks is wifi. Like seriously India, how’s a girl meant to blog? More importantly, how’s a girl meant to check her Facebook?! After my www-detox I’m back, and excited to start my post-adventure adventure along side some old friends (hey guys), and to share all that deep and meaningful crap I’ve picked up along my way around the world. (Think Eat Pray Love minus the Brazilian businessman).

So, lets start with the biggest lesson I learnt while traveling. Drumroll please…

I am happiest, and my body feels, looks and acts its best when I fuel it with clean, lean and fresh things.

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Do you feel let down? Like almost a year into writing health blog I should probably have figured this out already? Yeah, me too. But then again, putting the opposite of this personal mantra into action over the last 57 days proved to underline, highlight and completely scream its importance. The ramifications of taking even the smallest of health related back tracks completely shocked me. Even more shocking however, is the thought that there are people (and heaps of them) who live everyday feeling as tired, deflated, down and uncomfortable as I did – and it’s their choice. There is nothing like a hike around the world to make you reevaluate personal priorities and remind yourself of what really matters (to you). To me, it is health and healing myself through food.

Food was a huge part of our adventure. It was often the sole reason for stopping places (armed with scrappy handwritten lists of famous dishes). I attempted to eat healthy, to stick to my paleo ways, but so often that little voice in my head would mutter “oh but you’re on holiday”, or “how often will you be in Cambodia?” etc.

Damn that voice. Because I got sick.

Like hospital-visits-in-the-middle-of-the-night-trying-to-sign-language-symptoms-to-a-Vietnamese-doctor sick.

To put it simply, I learnt that no amount of special occasions, tasty sounding food or even ‘once in a lifetime’ trips are worth risking my health. And further more, that what I put into my body is the key to feeling great, and you won’t enjoy said occasions, food or trips if you don’t feel great.

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After two months of clogging up my delicate (and kinda temperamental) body with rich creamy curries, oodles of noodles and spice filled delicacies (can we say “bloated”), I’m seeing this next phase in my life as a chance to cleanse. To fill my life (and my stomach) with the right choices and get back to the energy levels, clear skin and healthy, happy feeling that I was striving for in New Zealand.

How many times do you (even when you’re not on holiday) head for a treat? Excuse bad health with the pre tense of a one off event? Well, from now on, for me, I have decided it isn’t worth it (and hopefully I can inspire you to do the same). Friday night? Well, I will think a little harder about Saturday morning. Going out for dinner? I’m yet to find a spot that doesn’t either have some scrummy veggies on the menu, or isn’t willing to swap things around to add some. Craving a treat? Load up with some toasted cashews (straight from the oven of course). Lets take this seasonal, whole food journey together. Lets explore recipes and celebrate ingredients together. Lets whinge about how hard it all is whilst looking smugly at those chowing down on Maccas… (you guessed it)… together. You and me baby – I can’t wait.

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But first things first, I’ve just arrived at my grans semi-detached cottage (down a leafy London lane – bliss) and I’m having myself a cup of green tea and a ruddy salad.

Oh, and putting on a jumper. And a pair of socks. And coat. Scarf. Gloves. Yes, I am indoors.

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Pimple cures, ego deflating and my (new) bestie.

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You know that phrase, the one featured in like every sappy 90s love song (or any love song at all for that matter), the one about not knowing what you’ve got… ‘Till it’s gone? Well I’m suffering from that a little right now. To friends and family back home – you can stop that head of yours getting any bigger, because I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about lemons.

Yup. Do you know how hard it is to hunt down a damn lemon in Asia? I don’t know if I’m looking in all the wrong places (and yes, I looked in fruit shops, supermarkets and even asked at restaurants), but I could barely find any. This doesn’t sound like much of a drama right? Well, I guess it’s not on the scale of life events (weddings, children and lemon draughts will probably make my obituary), but it has made me realise that lemons are one bloody brilliant fruit.

For the last 12 months in NZ I’ve been consistently guzzling a glass of water with the juice from half a lemon and a tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar every morning (except a few hungover occasions that we won’t talk about). To be honest, I didn’t really understand the good it was doing me. I just kind of did it, because (like any good blogger) I read somewhere online that it’s super duper for all things digestive and helps out your skin too. (And yes, if the internet told me to jump off a bridge, I probably would do that as well).

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As much as I wanted to squeeze 9 weeks worth of lemons and ACV into my luggage, the boy had already been lenient with my packing quoter (he double checked the necessity of each item in my bag and even let me keep the third pair of shoes), so I decided to test my life – lemon free. Well, you know what? My life is oh-so much better with a little acid in the morning.

Even just a few days in from my morning ritual hiatus, I notices more spots. A week in and my skin tone was hella blotchy, and food was aching my tummy (this could also be because I’m traveling south East Asia… Or, you know, lemons are magic). Three weeks in and I’m reminded of my sixteen year old self, and not in a good way (in a hormones expressing themselves through my pores sort of way).

As well as doing wonders for your skin, lemons claim to boost your immune system (with all that tasty vitamin C), balance out your PH levels (aiding healthy digestion and knocking out toxins) and even reduce inflammation in joints!

So, when I stumble upon these citrus fruits on my journeys around the orient, Im buying as many as I think will stay good, and strapping them to the side of my already overflowing pack. I’ve even started using the juice directly on a pimple to clear it up quick (when I’m done drinking it obviously).

To all you people who are spending up large on fancy name skincare brands that promise to rid you of acne for life, save a buck or two and go to your local grocers* to pick up some lemons. Maybe some apple cider vinegar too – but that’s a love story for a different day.

*unless your in Asia, then good luck to ya!

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Detoxing, doggie day care and a lot of liquid.

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On Monday all I ate (well, drank) was juice (well, liquids).

I kicked off this week with a detox cleanse. That right ladies and gentlemen, I got suckered in. Despite previously rolling my eyes at the idea of starving yourself for one, three or five days, and questioning how it could do anything other than make you hangry. This one seemed different.

Firstly it was organized/supplied by my favourite rawesome (see what I did there) café in Auckland, Little Bird Unbakery.

Sidenote: This place is amazing, I am completely besotted and since my last review (here) I have re-tried the dreaded green smoothie and now have it multiple times a week because it has completely grown on me. And I’m pretty sure it does good things for my insides (and who doesn’t want that).

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Also adding to its plus sides was the salad waiting for you at the end of the day (yes, actual food). The idea of this cleanse is to in no way starve or deprive you, so you do actually get to eat (woop woop), and they say that you should listen to your body and if you’re feeling hungry during your detox day, you can (nay, should) eat. It also comes with a recommendation and heaps of information from resident Little Bird nutritionist/naturopath, Nellie, in your box of goodies (to help guide you through the days post detox).

Finally (and probably the biggest plus) was how fresh it was. No matter how many days you choose to do, each drink is prepared for you that morning (no exceptions) and can either be picked up or delivered to you. Other cleanses I researched into had you receiving five days worth of drinks at once – I don’t know what is preserving those babies (or how you’re meant to fit it all in the fridge), but I don’t want a chemical filled detox.

So, after picking up my box of drinks (plus salad), I was subject to a day of lots of peeing, excessive drinking and a damn good mood. The drinks vary from juices and smoothies and you’re provided with heaps of info on what each little glass bottle contains along with when is the best time to drink it (i.e. before exercise or first thing).

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It felt like I was continuously drinking (literally from 830am to 830pm I’m pretty sure I always had something in my mouth – dirty jokes aside), and I learnt that I am a very slow drinker, but I loved it and I felt amazing.  Meant as a rest and recharge for your digestive system I felt full of energy throughout the day (even more that my actually food-fuelled self), and never even thought of snacking.

This option is a little more expensive than others, and there were definitely people who scoffed at the $110 price tag (no mum you totally read that wrong, it was actually way cheaper than that, just like those new jeans…way cheaper), but I believe that everybody has their thing.

Some people will drop wads of cash on designer clothes, they will buy into the brand, the ethics and the culture of what they wear. They will inspect fabric quality, poor over fashion magazines and pay that bit extra to dry clean the things they love.

Some will buy their beloved pooch the gourmet pet food and splurge on doggie shaped waist coats for dearest to wear to animal day care on the day of “class photos” (yes, that’s a real thing).

Some with spend up large on GPS watches and waterproof shoes to wear on their latest adventure hike that they hit up after sweating it out in the bikram, but before they take their new shining mountain bike (fitted with GoPro – obv) to Woodhill.

And some will spend every cent they have on going to restaurants to try degustation menus, they will read up reviews and painstakingly rank where they want to try next (in order of deliciousness). They will seek out organic produce, farmers markets and refuse to grace their pantry with anything other than free range eggs.

The problem with me is, I’m kind of every single one of these people (or at least I would be if I actually had a pet).

I tell myself I still get a better deal of it than someone who loves an extreme sport like skydiving. But that’s probably a lie.

What’s not a lie though, is how amazing I felt come Tuesday morning. And how much I would totally do this cleanse again (whilst kitted out in my designer clothes, puppy in-tow, after my hard core yoga sesh – duh).

Kicking the habit: acne cures and sugar fiends.

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I think I’ve discovered the cure for acne! No, maybe not, but the first and most insanely noticeable change since cutting out sugar has been my skin. It is miles clearer and my skin tone has evened out dramatically. Great!

What’s not so great is the crazy sugar fiend that roars her unattractive head at precisely 330pm and then again post dinner – like every day.

So yes, it’s seven days into my detox. To recap, I’m doing Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar’ eight-week plan. Technically the first two weeks are all about cutting back, so I skipped straight to week three, because I’ve been slowly cutting down my sugar for a few months now. For those of you a little confused about what I am or am not eating…

I have cut out all sugar. This (rather obviously) means I’m eating no refined sugar, and I’m reading labels like a nut job to check for sneaky sugar added (seriously – almost everything has it). No sugar replacement (sweeteners). No honey/maple syrup/rice syrup/any of those sorts of things (I know, I know, all that stuff is “all natural”, but it’s sugar, so its out). Finally, no fruit.

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The idea of going cold turkey on bananas is the part that sits funny with me, I can’t get my head around the idea that fruit could be negative. But Sarah has convinced me that this “detox” is simply that, it is a period of time to reset your body. Once I nip my sugar cravings/dependency in the bud, I can introduce the correct amount of fruit back into my diet.

I know its controversial, and I’m not going to pretend I have all the answers, my research so far seems to support Sarah’s notion that a couple of pieces of fruit a day is the best number to stick to on a daily basis (and no other sugars at all) once back to my normal eating (aka post detox).

Anyway, enough of the nitty gritty! Back to what’s been going on through out this week.

I’ve been easing up my paleo ways. I still completely believe in the benefits (and have been reaping them for some time) of primal eating, but I’m also painfully aware of my own limits right now. Cutting out so much and leaving myself with no “treats” at all is a bit tricky (especially for the early stages). So I’m letting myself indulge in a bit more dairy (think full fat milk/yoghurt and some cheese). I’m not going crazy with it, but if I feel the pangs of dessert cravings, a few slices of creamy cheese to satisfy my need to indulge are keeping me sane. As the weeks continue I can cut down and down on these last vices until I am pure, clean and brilliant!

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It has been a hard seven days, if anyone ever says kicking sugar to the curb is easy – well they are SO wrong. Simply living your life is tough on sugar free. It doesn’t mean you CAN’T do things like go out for dinner, but it means you have to be conscious of every single thing that passes you lips. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just not always and easy one.

I’m starting to turn a corner and feel really good, I’m noticing that my energy is consistently up through out the day, I feel a lot fuller after my delicious sugar-free meals, and as I mentioned before, my skin clearing up.

Saviors? Peppermint tea (it’s an amazing sugar craving killer) and nuts (roasted, tossed with cinnamon, and mixed through yoghurt – serious sugar free dessert right there).

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Watch out for? Flavoured tea – If it’s fruit flavoured, likelihood is that they actually contain fruit (which isn’t bad, but if you are on this detox, they should be nixed). Another tea I found the other day was a “Crème Brulee” tea, and rather obviously that was PACKED with sugar, so read EVERY label. Bar none. Not even tea is safe from added sugar.

I’m having a love/hate relationship with the detox currently. But I am still excited to see how I feel, and how many changes I notice, come the end of this journey.

Hopefully the roaring sugar fiend stops popping in to say hi. Oh an I also hope people at work stop getting older – because all the cakes I can’t eat are driving me mental!

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All images from Pinterest

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