What does Lammas mean to you?

A month has passed in this new year and we are now in February, which marks the transition into Autumn for us in the Southern Hemisphere. This transition into Autumn, is celebrated in August, for those in the Northern Hemisphere.

Not only do we experience the turning of the seasons as Mother Earth does, we also experience every season in every aspect of our lives. A relationship ends (Winter), the birth of a child (Spring), the growth of a business (Summer), the sharing of a meal with friends and family (Autumn). My blog post discusses the different seasons, also the known as the Wheel of Life.

However unlike the seasons which have a set time (days and months), we do not know how long we will experience the ‘season’ we are currently faced with. From my own experience, I have found that looking at the metaphor of the ‘season’ and applying this to where that ‘season’ is visiting me, in my own life, I have been able to gain some wisdom from the situation. This then allows me to respond, rather than react, to the circumstances. It also reminds me during the difficult times, that this ‘season’ too shall pass.

For our ancestors and those connected to the land, the transition into Autumn marked the the first of the harvest festivals known as Lammas. Lammas comes from the Saxon name for ‘feast of bread’. It was a time when community came together to pick and sort the grain and bake the first bread of the year.  A time to celebrate the hard work that had gone before. It was also a time to be grateful for the abundance that was coming into their lives.

Most of us in the modern world, are so far removed from the natural cycles of the seasons, the crops that are grown and the trials that our ancestors had to endure. There is plenty all year round and most of us want for nothing.

How can we connect back with the cycles of Mother Earth and the wisdom she has?

We can embrace the energy of each of the seasons, as we journey through Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn and use the metaphors that each season speaks.

Lammas is about community, beginning to harvest the ‘seeds’ that you have sown, and being grateful for the abundance in our lives.

  • Are you part of a community?
  • What endeavours are you working towards with this community?
  • Is the project fruitful, bringing joy and connection?
  • Can you share with your community, your pains and heartaches, as well as your hopes and dreams?
  • Does the community ‘wrap’ itself around the individual who is experiencing pain, holding them, as they grapple with their loss? Or is the community only connected in times of abundance and joy?
  • If you are not part of a community, why not?
  • How can you create this sense of togetherness, while still being independent?
  • Have you been tending your ‘seeds’ (goals/dreams)?
  • What have you been tending, that has ripened and requires harvesting?
  • Can you see the abundance in your life?
  • What are you grateful for?

Lammas, however is the first of the harvest festivals. There are two other harvest festivals to celebrate, which means that not everything has ripened yet. 

  • Are you pushing to bring a project to fruition?
  • Are you able to allow the natural ‘unfolding’ of the situation?

For more information about the different festivals see my blog post.

I invite you to take a moment now and look at all the areas of your life:

  • Relationships
  • Business/Career
  • Spirituality
  • Social
  • Personal Development
  • Finances
  • Health

Are you experiencing the energy of Lammas in any of these areas? If so how would you answer the questions above, in relation to this area of your life? Take some time with this. I find journaling a great way to gain clarity.

Did you find the metaphors helpful? I would love to hear, so please leave a comment below.

If you would like more support with navigating through the ‘seasons’ you are experiencing, please send me an email to set up a coaching session.

In vibrant health, Vicki

‘Grab-and-Go’ Green Smoothie

Morning times can sometimes be a crazy time, so one of my favourite things to grab is a Green Smoothie. What are Green Smoothies? Read an earlier post here. This is one of my favourite as I LOVE mangoes and when it’s summer I indulge as often as I can. I have pictures of me as a young child sitting in the bat tub with my sister, each of us with a whole mango in our hands. What a greta way to keep the mess in one place and then be able to wash us off afterwards.

‘Grab-and-Go’ Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1 cup filtered water or your favourite nut milk
  • 1 cup baby spinach

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender, I use a Vitamix, and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a your favourite glass and enjoy.

Note: If you are running out the door, pour this into a bottle to take with you or make it the night before and leave in the fridge, so it really does become a ‘grab-and-go’ breakfast.

I would love to hear what your favourite green smoothie is. What is your ‘grab-and-go’ breakfast? Please leave a comment below.

In vibrant health, Vicki

How to stay focused on your health goals.

Are you starting to wonder how you will stay on top of your health goals, now that the new year is in full swing?

School is back, we are back at work and the rhythm of the year starts to kick in – mornings become getting kids out of bed (if you have them), getting ready for work, the kids to school, then work itself, then the afternoons are kids activities, our own activities, homework (kids and our own), dinner, cleaning up and bed to start it all again the following day. Busyness of the day has just gone up a notch, so how do we keep motivated and on track, to achieve any health goals that we set at the beginning of the New Year?

One fabulous tool is Menu Planning. Ok it doesn’t sound sexy, however it will support you in a number of ways:

  • staying on track for your health goals
  • being more organised
  • stop the “What’s for Dinner?” questions
  • reduce or eliminate impulse purchases
  • reduce the weekly food costs
  • reduce food wastage
  • reduce takeaways, as there is “nothing in the fridge!”

So how do you menu plan?

Pick a day where you can sit down and plan the following weeks meals. Ideally this is before you go grocery shopping. Then consider the following:

  • are there any mornings that you have to be out the door earlier than normal?
  • are there any evenings with late commitments (kids or your own), which means preparing and eating dinner is going to make it very late?
  • any days with commitments over the lunch period?
  • do you have any social engagements?

 

Note any of the above onto your Menu Planner, as you will want to factor these in when planning the meals. For instance, on the mornings you have to be out the door super early, you could plan a ‘grab-and-go’ breakfast for that day like a Green Smoothie or Chia Seed Pudding, which is made the evening before. Evenings when you will be getting home late, you could plan a leftover meal from the night before or have a frozen meal that was prepared the weekend prior. Working through lunch could be, meeting the client at a cafe that will support you on your health goal choices or taking a packed lunch.

This is all about being creative, so that you can still focus on your health goals, with out giving up on them because ‘life’ is too busy and wont let you.

Now that your commitments are on the Menu Planner, fill in the Menu Planner with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas. For me I have accumulated a list of recipes that a quick, easy and tasty, which cater for more than the meal that they are being prepared for. This way I have left-overs for either lunch or dinner the following day. This also allows me to factor in my other commitments. I will also have one or two evenings where I create a meal from a new recipe I have found or one that has inspired me. This way, I am always adding to my growing book of recipes.

Prior Preparation

Another important note to add to the Menu Planner, is any prior preparation that is required. There is nothing worse than pulling all the ingredients out for dinner and realising that the nuts needed to be soaked or a sauce had to be made the day prior. On the Menu Planner, I will note any prior preparation on the day before, eg if I require Almond Milk for the Green Smoothie for Wednesday, I will note on Tuesday that I need to put the almonds onto soak. This way on Wednesday, I can make the Almond Milk and then make the Green Smoothie. If Wednesday is a ‘grab-and-go’ day, then I will note on Tuesday evenings to make both the Almond Milk and the Green Smoothie.

Once the Menu Planner is completed, I will list all the ingredients I require including the amounts. This includes the spices and herbs. I will then check the pantry to see what I already have, marking them off the list. I now have my shopping list for the week.

Like any new habit, initially menu planning can take some time, however with practice, it will become easier and the time taken to plan for your week will decrease. What I love most about menu planning, is knowing that I am focusing on my health goals and those times when I am not feeling very inspired, I know that I have the ingredients to create a yummy meal.

Here is the Menu Planner I use.

Have you tried menu planning? What has been your experience? Do you have any tips to share, that have supported you when menu planning? I would love to hear so please leave a comment.

In vibrant health, Vicki

Why do a kitchen detox?

The kitchen is the place where we prepare food for ourselves and our loved ones. When you enter the kitchen how does the kitchen make you feel. Organised, inspired, creative or messy, cluttered and overwhelmed.

Like most people around this time of year, Spring, I have decided to look at the way I eat and tweak it. We have come out of Winter, which is usually a time of heavy food, and with more light and heat in the days, we naturally start to want to eat lighter and possible even cleaner. For me I want to get back into my green smoothies, start introducing more fermented foods and have a shot of wheat grass each morning. This means growing my own wheat grass and juicing it.

So what does detoxing the kitchen have to do with how we decide to eat and nourish ourselves. The feelings that the kitchen invokes is going to have a direct impact on how and what you prepare for yourself. The kitchen will either support you on your journey towards better health and vitality or distract you from it.

Say you wish to start having a fresh juice or smoothie each morning. Is the juicer or blender on the counter or hidden in the back of the pantry? Do you have fresh fruit and vegetables on display on the counter or in easy reach in the fridge? Or do you see bottles of soft drink in the fridge each time you open the door? Think about it this way – each time you enter the kitchen it is marketing to you. Just like the TV, what you see in the kitchen is giving you messages. These messages will influence you on how and what you eat.

As with the change in season, there is a change in energy. Spring brings longer daylight hours and warmer days. It is a time of new beginnings, promise and growth. We start to be more active and head outdoors. Cleaning and detoxing the kitchen can support bringing this new energy into the kitchen and into the way you wish to nourish yourself.

Have you decided how you would like to eat and nourish yourself this Spring? Are you looking at:

  • eating less processed foods
  • increasing the amount of raw foods in each meal
  • consuming more green smoothies

Whatever you have decided to do, look at detoxing your kitchen to support you.

Would you like guidance on how to detox your kitchen? Are you unsure of the next steps you need to take to increase your health? Overwhelmed by all that you think you should be doing?

As a Health Coach, I specialising in helping people make their own healthy changes. Ready to get started? Schedule an initial complementary consultation with me today – or pass this offer on to someone you care about!

Raw Spicy Carrot Squares with Lemon Frosting

I love chocolate and so I love getting in the kitchen and experimenting and creating new chocolate desserts. However, sometimes a girl can have too much chocolate. Really? Really! I was mulling over in my head what other desserts I like that do not have a chocolate anything and carrot cake flashed in. Why not? A moist cake with a lemon frosting would go beautifully. Off to the kitchen I went. The first time I made this, I took it to a friends place who lives on a huge property with a number of horses. Her and her partner loved the spices mixed with the carrot pieces and the tartness of the lemon frosting that combined with them. They even said that the horses would love it. I know they have made the recipe nut I’m not sure if the horses have been given any.

For me, this recipe is about nourishing the soul. Taking time out from the never ending ‘to do’ list and having some time to breath. The space between what has been completed and what is about to start. These spaces are so important, as they help slow us down and give the day pauses, which means we don’t feel like we are running from one thing to the next and speeding up the treadmill. Do you give yourself time to breath? To actually focus on being present for even a minute per day? How do you create spaces between the business of your day? Or do you even acknowledge that you need to create spaces? I invite you to create space today. Make yourself a cup of something to drink and then sit and slow drink it. How do you feel afterwards?

I hope you enjoy my spicy carrot squares with lemon frosting, they go lovely with a cup of tea and a few moments to breath……….

Ingredients:

Base

  • 2/3 cup pecans
  • 2/3 cup macadamias
  • 1/4 cup activated buckwheat*
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 10 pitted medjool dates, chopped
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil (liquid)

Cake

  • 3 cups chopped carrot (about 4 med carrots)
  • 1/2 cup activated buckwheat* – ground
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice 
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 2/3 cup currants
  • 4 Tbs coconut oil, liquid
  • 1 Tbs maple syrup, if required

Frosting

  • 1 cup coconut meat
  • 3 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs maple syrup
  • pinch of celtic sea salt
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil, liquid
  • 1 – 2 Tbs coconut water, if required

Prior Preparation:

  1. Nil

Directions:

Base

  1. In food processor add all base ingredients except dates and coconut oil and process until breadcrumb consistency
  2. Add chopped dates and blend until mixture sticks together.
  3. Add coconut oil and process again.  If you can squeeze together forming a ball and it holds it’s shape then the mixture is ready. If not add a few more dates.
  4. Line 20cm square tin with baking paper then pour base into tin and press down to form the base.
  5. Place in fridge while making the carrot cake filling

Cake

  1. Finely chop carrots in a food processor.  Alternatively use the pulp from juiced carrots
  2. Add buckwheat flour, currants, ginger powder, mixed spice, all spice, cinnamon, celtic sea salt and process again. Taste test to see if sweetener is require. Flavour of cake mixture will develop over time.
  3. Add coconut oil and maple syrup (if required).  Pulse to mix consistency.
  4. Press onto base and put back into fridge while making the frosting.

Frosting

  1. Open coconut and remove the coconut meat. Watch how to open a coconut.
  2. Rinse coconut meat to remove any hard bits before putting in the blender.
  3. Blend add all ingredients except coconut oil and coconut water.  Start of low setting and increase spend and blend until smooth. 
  4. Add coconut oil and blend. If mixture is too thick add 1 – 2 Tbs coconut water and blend again.
  5. Pour onto top of carrot cake and set in freezer for 3 hours.
  6. Once set remove carrot cake from tin and cut into squares.

I would love to receive your comments on this dish.

In vibrant health, Vicki