Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Over the last few years organic foods have become a bit of a fad. If something is labelled organic we seem to think it's healthier or tastier, as well as trusting celebrities who swear by organic foods for weight loss.
But what does organic really mean? Is it healthier? Does it taste better?
And are the foods really as organic as we think?
To me, thinking of 'organic' conjures an image of a small old fashioned farm, with a homestyle, holistic approach to farming. That's me just being idealistic as usual- the truth is that the organic food we find in our supermarkets are mass produced just like all the other foods, some are even made by the same companies in a small subsection which they have adjusted to comply with the organic standards to become certified.
Organic foods are those that have been produced without modern synthetic inputs like pesticides and chemical fertilisers and processed without industrial solvents or chemical food additives and the livestock must be reared with regular access to pasture and without the routine use of antibiotics or growth hormones.
The best place to get true organic foods is to grow them yourself! Or at local farmers markets and certified produce stores.
To be certified as organic the producers and growers have to be audited to ensure that their production methods comply to the national standards.
Some of the ways that producers manage the health of the soil and plants without chemicals are using green manure, compost and natural minerals as well as carefully planned crop rotations an natural methods of pest and weed control.
Although many studies have shown that an organic farm uses less energy and is claimed to be better for the environment, from doing some further reading I discovered that these figures often aren't calculated per unit or size, that to make crops of the same size each way at some farms the organic farming process actually uses more resources and takes much longer.
If you do want to cut down the chemicals in your diet and switch to organic be sure that it is a certified product. Companies can use the word organic in their names and advertising without actually being organic at all (or just a very small part of the product is made that way) so be sure to do your reading properly!
People choose organic for many different reasons- usually not because of the cost! The cost of certified organic food is usually about three times what you would pay for the same foods without the label.
So next time that you think you are being green because your eating 'organic' think about what it actually is, and really weigh up what it means to you now that you have some more of the facts.
One product I absolutely stand by is anything that is cruelty free, such as free range meats and eggs. I plan to do a bit more research into the guidelines for what allows these foods to be labelled this way as well so keep an eye out for that upcoming post. As always please feel free to share with me any stories, links or good sites relating to organic or cruelty free options in foods. I LOVE the feedback!
Some Organic Grocers in Melbourne-
Wednesday, 16 January 2013
~ Restaurant Reviews ~
We are so lucky to be here in Melbourne with so many incredible restaurants. It seems every week there is a new one coming up to try and it makes it so hard! Do we go to the new, untested one? Or stick to our old favourites?
It's always tough when deciding where to eat is left up to you, I know I'm usually the one that the girls expect to come up with the suggestions- I'm always worried it will be a disaster! We have been to a some nice places the last few weeks so thought I'd write a little about them to make any upcoming restaurant ideas easier!
Some of them are my absolute favourites and others are just new ones that we've tried.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on them or any good ones that I haven't mentioned that I might like to try so feel free to leave comments or email me with suggestions! I love hearing feedback!
I had to start with my absolute favourite restaurant. FOG is on Greville st in Prahran and is known best for pre drinks before heading to Boutique on a Friday night. The menu is modern mexican fusion and even renowned chef Marco Pierre White is known to love a meal there while he was Melbourne filming for MasterChef. It's great for vegetarians as well, with several tasty dishes to choose from. They offer either a tapas style menu or you can order larger mains as well. I had my recent birthday dinner there and even my friends who hadn't been before were impressed with the food, the service and also the atmosphere. FOG is a great place to go for drinks as it has two bars as well as a big courtyard, with plenty of tables and even an open fire to warm you up in winter! It's perfect for any occasion and they have recently started up a Sunday session with a band so busy souls can relax and unwind at the end of a big weekend. My favourite cocktail is called a Honey Press, absolutely delicious and sweet!
I'd heard a few great reviews about Golden Fields on Fitzroy st in St Kilda so decided to stop by during the week and see what the fuss was about. It's another restaurant that must be 'too cool' to be able to book- I'd heard on weekends there can be up to 2 hours wait for a table! Luckily for us we managed to get something right away.
Now I've heard great things about their lobster rolls and a few other dishes but being that I'm a vegetarian unfortunately can't vouch for that myself. We just told the waitress to bring out all the vegetarian options tapas style for us. The food certainly didn't disappoint! The standout was a pink grapefruit salad with asparagus and there was a delicious rice noodle salad as well.
The layout was great, with a option of either sitting at the bar or at a table, the only thing I wouldn't rush back for was the service, which was a bit inconsistent. One waitress in particular was almost rude in the way she neglected to serve us, although once we moved to an outside table to enjoy our dessert the waiter was absolutely lovely! Maybe because my cheeky dinner companion had given them a big tip already! The desserts were amazing, a perfect way to end a lovely meal, the baked meringue was incredible. Overall it was good just for a small, quiet dinner but I don't think I'd go on a weekend when they are too busy or rely on it for a special occasion.
I know some friends who swear by this restaurant on Acland street in St Kilda. I have been about four times now and just don't get what the fuss is about. I hate writing something that's not positive but I just cant come up with much else to say about it. I went with a group of girls this week for an early dinner, again we ate tapas style. Of the vegetarian dishes I tried the arancini balls were the best but there wasn't anything else worth mentioning. To be honest the service wasn't very good, drinks took longer to arrive than the food did and we had to remind the waiter several times about drinks orders. When I first walked in I was waiting to be served so I could find out where the girls were sitting (as we'd booked a table) and it's no exaggeration at all to say that two staff walked straight past me and not only that, there were another two just standing at the bar right in front of me just chatting to each other. They had definitely seen me waiting and even made eye contact! It took somebody else to come and ask me if I'd been looked after yet! I'm not one to ever complain and I know how busy it can get in a restaurant and that the staff all have their own lives but I've honestly never had such appalling service ever. It didn't help that the time I'd been previously they had completely forgotten to put one of the meals through for my friend, so it never arrived. Average food and appalling service, I should have learnt my lesson already but next time I will definitely put my foot down and refuse to go. There is no point wasting your time on mediocre in Melbourne, not when there are so many amazing places to dine.
Woods of Windsor
This was a fun night! I'd organised a surprise dinner for my beautiful best friends 21st birthday. She thought it was just the two of us and had no idea there was a table full of her nearest and dearest waiting at the restaurant. I'll say it again Mel- This is why you can't keep being late for everything! haha. Its just on Chapel st and the decor is gorgeous and very intimate, with candles around and a very cozy feel. The tables were quite small so not the best place for a large dinner but we were just happy enough to get a table that could fit us all. The food menu was amazing, everybody absolutely loved their food and considering it is known for their 'game' meat (which I didn't know when I booked- Mel and I are both vegos), there was enough vegetarian options to keep us happy as well! The drinks list was impressive and the cocktails were delicious! (this was pre detox) I'd definitely go back for cocktails or a light meal, it was a great atmosphere (aside from being a little smokey) and perfect for girls drinks or even for a first date it would be nice! **hint hint guys!
As my parents still live down on the Peninsula the girls and I often go down to stay and enjoy the beach, the bushwalks and being spoilt by mum! We were down last weekend for the Portsea Polo shenannigans and made sure we did our traditional stop off at Two Buoys. Even when I used to live down in Dromana, Two Buoys was one of my favourite places to go, but now that I don't get down there as much I appreciate it even more! We love sitting at the front bench, overlooking the water and watching life go by as we enjoy the tasty cocktails and tapas that they have. It's so relaxing! They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I just found out that they even get their coffee from one of my favourite places in South Melbourne which I have written a post about- St Ali's (we all have our wicked side- August 2012). I must have consistent taste in coffee! The salads are amazing and fresh and the flatbreads are the best I've ever had. Do yourself a favour and try the pumpkin, honey and blue cheese one! The other thing to mention is the incredible service. Even though they get so busy over summer, completely run off their feet the staff are friendly, helpful and attentive. I also love that they use local produce where possible and have a lot of the local wines as well. I must admit that we usually end up there at least twice each time we come down, for dinner and drinks and then again for breakfast or lunch the next day! Definitely worth trying the next time you're down the Peninsula.
Monday, 7 January 2013
Now we are finally into 2013! It's been a crazy time over Christmas and New Year. A big thanks to the guys who put on the Together NYE party at the Circa Rooftop that we went to. It was a beautiful night, well decorated and the complimentary Laurent Perrier champagne went down very nicely! The free Swisse Vitamins to detox really helped the next day too!
New Years day was spent at Riva in St Kilda for their nautical themed party. The VIP balcony was pumping and everybody looked great in their outfits and the general party vibe was fantastic! Good people and good music is all you need!
Wishing everybody luck who is settling back into their work routine this week- it can be tough on our brains and bodies after we put them through so much!
This weekend I spent some time down the beach with my two best friends Cara and Mel and the subject of detoxing came up. I know a lot of you followed my journey though Dry July last year, (I did honestly admit to one slip up!) and it seemed fitting to write my first blog of 2013 about something that is a resolution for so many people- to get into healthy habits and start looking after ourselves again!
My resolutions for 2013 are to do a sky dive and also train for a mini triathlon but for the month of January my body is screaming out for a break so I came up with a mini plan thanks to a bit of common sense and some great recommendations from friends and acquaintances.
So firstly- TIP #1- NO DRINKING!!
There is a festival in late Jan that we are going to and it seems unrealistic that we don't have a few there so my lovely best friend Mel and I have decided that we won't touch a drop until Jan 25th. So not a full month but definitely do able and enough to get any toxins from our bodies!
TIP #2 Consistant Exercise
Thanks to some great advice from my friend Michella (who has been doing bikram yoga for years) and a recommendation from the gorgeous Carrie Bickmore I looked up Bikram Yoga Melbourne and decided to give that a go! Their website has a lot of information and will answer any questions that you have.
Bikram Yoga is done over 90minutes in a room heated to 40C. There are 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises. I had my first class this morning and couldn't believe what a workout it was. My whole body feels stretched and refreshed and strong. You sweat so much during a class that it is important to drink lots and lots of water. Bikram Yoga Melbourne run an introductory offer that is only $19 for 10 days unlimited. They are located in Richmond and Prahran. It feels great to start the year trying something new and positive!
TIP #3 Skincare
Because of all the drinking, bad food, sun exposure and late nights we have in December and early Jan it's very common to see the effects on our skin. Breakouts, dark circles and redness are all very normal this time of year. Why not give your skin a detox as well? Microdermabrasion uses a fine abrasive tip or crystals and vacuum suction to exfoliate and renew the skin. It is great for congestion, uneven skin tone and even fine lines. Luella Beauty Clinic on Chapel st does a 30 minute treatment that includes a cleanse, scrub, intensive treatment mask and facial massage for just $95 (mention this blog and get 10% off). Tips for helping detox your skin at home include purifying facial masks (my favourite is Dermalogica skin refining masque) and also remember to keep your skin hydrated with a good serum to replace moisture that can be lost from sun exposure. Try Shu Uemura Intense Moisturising Concentrate which uses minerals from the ocean to lock moisture into your skin. And of course ALWAYS ALWAYS wear 30+ sunscreen everyday!
TIP #4 Enjoy being healthy with friends!
After such a crazy and emotional end to last year I have never been more grateful to have such amazing friends and people in my life. Not only are they there to support and be there for you but are also great to be inspired and motivated by! I'm lucky that all my friends enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle so that instead of sitting inside watching a movie or doing a McDonalds run we will (usually) opt for going for a nice walk in the sun or putting together a salad or some fresh fruit as a snack. It's great to hear their stories and exercise and lifestyle tips as well, it makes it fun and they can keep you motivated when you might not want to roll out of bed for that 6am yoga or bootcamp session! Great friends also make you laugh and there is nothing that is better for you than being happy and feeling loved!
So please feel free to let me know any other ideas you are trying to have a healthy start to 2013 or your lifestyle resolutions! I'd love to hear about them!
Happy 2013 Everybody… It's going to be amazing :)