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Aro Ha Wellness Retreat

Written by lee on . Posted in Reviews, Travel & Lifestyle

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Arriving at Aro Ha wellness retreat in Glenorchy on the South Island of picturesque New Zealand and you may mistakenly think you’ve stepped into the pages of “Into the Wild”, the bestselling book about an adventurous seeker and hiker who’s escapades lead him into the remote Alaskan wilderness.

If the hustle and bustle of life has you craving a break and yearning for that blank spot on the map to truly immerse yourself into an unfiltered life experience, then Aro Ha may be just what the doctor ordered.

Imagine a wellness retreat that combines delicious organic food, soul-shifting mountain hikes with natural highs, relaxing daily massages and a environment where you can let go of decision making and fall into the art of complete surrender. Sound good?

From the moment you arrive, you're encouraged to renounce all pre-conceived ideas and expectations and hand over to the beauty and magnificence of the world around you. The comfortable drive to the popular wellness retreat is about a forty-five minute ride, which negotiates through spectacular hobbit and middle earth style rolling hills, surrounded by jaw-dropping backdrops featuring snow covered alps and glacial lakes. It envelopes you with all it’s chocolate box charm and magnetism.

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I was lucky enough to visit Aro Ha last month and spent five days in this spirit-lifting place. Quite soon after arriving at the retreat, we are whisked off to sit in the gorgeous communal chill out lounge, the perfect location for mingling with other guests against the backdrop of panoramic views across Lake Wakatipu.

We plonked ourselves down on the oversized floppy couch and were introduced to the ethos and run down of the retreat whilst enjoying a raw food platter with freshly made crackers, delights from the organic onsite gardens and a warming herbal tea.

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After a weigh in and checks and measuring session, we're guided through the stone pathways to our rooms and left to settle in and prepare for our first hike!  A little later, we meet in the designated hike area just outside the purpose built eco-designed accommodations where we gather up our allocated hiking gear and poles if required.

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I’ve always had a love of nature and an adventurous spirit, but I am no mountaineer by any stretch of the imagination and as we ventured up the steep and craggy mountains on the first day, I wondered whether my jelly legs would see me through.  

I was half expecting to stumble upon Alexander Supertramp’s Magic Bus so I could sneak in for a rest and to get my breath back. But there were plenty of opportunities to stop and rest and breathe in the cooling clean air if need be, and I felt absolutely no pressure to be a speedy Gonzales on my way up, with guides at the front, middle and back of the group to encourage and help you along.

When I finally reached my very first summit, the view from the top was impressive and it was then that I noticed a renewed sense of achievement and purpose, filling my senses. 

Once back on ground level, we headed into the shared eating area to indulge in a picture perfect highly nutritious dinner.

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This was a good time to chit-chat with fellow guests, and share experiences in a refined and natural setting, unencumbered by the usual belongings and trappings that sometimes accompany group gatherings.  We marvelled at the presentation of the fresh produce and delicious offerings.

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After dinner it was time for a relatively early night and armed with a warming herbal tea I jumped into the crisp and luxurious white linen sheets ready for a sound sleep.

I knew as soon as my head hit the pillow I would be asleep snuggling into the warm woven blankets and wondering what tomorrow would bring.

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As I nestled into the pillow, the mindfulness tip of the day on the bed was calling out to me, encouraging me to align my body and mind.  “This is going to be an interesting five days” I thought.

The paired-back décor of the cabin is restful and minimal with touches of nature weaved in from outside. I loved the natural flora and fauna that adorned the walls.

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The whole retreat runs on hydro and solar power and is a welcome sustainable living approach, very much in-tune with its surroundings. The building materials are made from larch wood and local stone and blend in effortlessly with the outdoor terrain.

The yoga studio is minimal and inviting with a gorgeous opportunity to breathe in your surrounds.

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The main community building houses the reception area and this is connected to a relaxing, lounge, dining room and open kitchen. The out buildings within the retreat comprise of a stunning spa area which is where the Zen-inducing treatments are carried out.

This flows through to an old school and infrared sauna, which then leads into an outdoor heated spa overlooking the sub-alpine mountains. I haven’t mentioned the icy plunge pool yet, but it's right there if you dare!

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After a restful night I'm awakened by a retreat leader outside my doorway, as the chimes of a Tibetan bowl gently rouse me from sleep.  Stumbling up the stone pathway, I'm met by a magnificent wooden yoga hut, centered around a windowscape which captures the stunning beauty and tranquility of the misty lake.

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Our yoga teacher Mike was there to greet us with a big warm knowing smile. He’s a beautiful soul and former adrenaline junkie, who brings the yin to many of the guest’s and retreat leader’s yangs as he gently takes us through a hatha-esque guided practice, to dust off the cobwebs and align the body and senses. This is where we are again encouraged to relinquish control and trust the process of the power of healing in nature.

By the time the class was over, breakfast was well and truly calling and this insta-worthy smoothie bowl had my name written all over it!  The nutritious bunch of ingredients blended and ready to set us up for the next hike of the day, three hours across country into the wilderness as far as the eye can see.

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It was then that I knew it was truly time to wallow in the raw and wild surroundings and experience the pulse of life that only hiking can provide. Whilst at Aro Ha, each day a hike is undertaken, all with their own challenging elevations and distances and generally covering between 12 and 17 kms of dramatically changing Southern-Alp landscape.

Walking can do interesting things to your mind. What it evoked for me was the ability to be more open to new experiences and adventures and also to have the breathing space to be able to think more creatively and with a new perspective that the daily busyness of life sometimes overshadows.

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By lunchtime, we are back at the retreat for more spectacular and empowering food, plated up with flowers from the garden and resembling the pot of gold that was at the end of the rainbow which had formed in the sky after a short rain shower, dazzling us as we ate and chatted, exchanging hiking stories from blisters to potential hamstring strains.


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Afternoons at Aro Ha are packed with various classes such as cooking and horticulture, pilates and functional training and you can choose to do as much or little as you wish.

The horticulture class was fun and informative and we were invited into the world of permaculture and shown how to grow our own micro-herbs, followed by a tour of the magnificent indoor kitchen-greenhouse which captures just the right amount of light and warmth all year round for the herb, vegetable and fruit dwellers inside to flourish.

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Restorative yoga kicks off at 6pm, connecting the group once again and lulling you into a soothing and nurturing space and time for reflection, much like the great lake view from the windows.

We run through a series of calming and soothing poses, the perfect antidote to an activity filled day. The class is closed with a mindfulness meditation as you melt your body even further into a deeper state of relaxation.

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As you're gently encouraged to bring your thoughts back into reality, dinner is ready and it's a beautifully presented garden to plate nourishing meal.


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Next it's time to head over to the sauna and spa area for chill out time, where you can gaze up at the stars and feel like you're in heaven.

Speaking of heaven, how gorgeous is this cacao breakfast pudding! 

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I spent five days at Aro Ha and came away with a renewed level of health and fitness and a brand new outlook on life.

My biggest realisation was:

It’s the things that challenge us the most, that become the very challenges that enable us to grow as a person and evolve.

Aro Ha gave me the impetus to reignite my love of adventure and hiking and plan loads more hikes in the future. I’ve since implemented a morning walk around Centennial Park in Sydney and am keeping my steps up along the way.

Thank you Aro Ha for a uniquely life-changing experience.

For more information about Aro Ha Wellness Retreat visit: http://aro-ha.com

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Small Victories Book Review Plus Buttermilk Pancake Recipe

Written by lee on . Posted in Books, Food & Drinks, Reviews

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Food always tastes better when made with love. Whether it's from the passion the cook has for it or from the love for the people it’s being created for. Each mouthful becomes even more pleasurable when love is involved.

Julia Turshen’s new cookbook Small Victories is full of wholesome yet exciting meals made from such moments. Revealing and laughing at her own cooking mistakes, turning them into useful tips, Turshen encourages you to overcome the daunting and stressful task of making a meal. To find enjoyment in the ‘small victories’ like not dropping any celery on the floor when first learning to sauté, or turning ice cream that wouldn’t freeze into a dinner party milkshake hit.

Small Victories has a humble quality, from Turshen’s expert but easy-going guidance, to its focus on utilising good, fresh produce that is accessible to most home cooks. With a few ingredients and flavours included to help broaden your pantry and excite your tastebuds, Turshen takes away the angst of having to find and buy these ingredients if you don’t have them, by providing effective alternatives.

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Out of milk? You can still have pancakes for breakfast (or dinner)!  Try out the ‘Sour Cream Pancakes with Roasted Blueberries’ recipe from the book, which I SuperCharged by using a Turshen alternative of buttermilk rather than sour cream. By the way if you’re dairy free coconut milk would be just as nice!

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This book is Turshen’s outstretched welcome into her home kitchen, with beautiful nostalgic photography and personal stories, and every turn of the page is filled with the essence of her love for food and cooking.

The other wonderful thing about Small Victories is that you don't need to be an expert to enjoy it; if you're more of a "one recipe kind of a cook" the book features creative ways to reuse recipes, turning your single mastered meal into a multitude of delicious moments.  

Small Victories is a great introduction to food for new cooks because it gently takes away the seriousness of getting it right and finds laughter and pleasure in your ‘small victories’.

My first stop was the Sour Cream pancakes and I made a couple of supercharged switches using buttermilk in the recipe which I'm sharing with you here.

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Buttermilk Pancakes with Roasted Blueberries

  • 1 ¼ cups (160g) blueberries, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • ½ cup (60g) oat flour
  • ¼ cup (30g) sorghum flour
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) Buttermilk or coconut milk
  • Coconut oil for cooking and serving

Preheat oven to 200°C

In a baking dish, combine the blueberries with 2 Tbsp of the coconut sugar and stir to mix.

Place in the oven and roast, pulling the baking dish out a few times to stir the blueberries, until their skins burst and they have released lots of juices, this takes about 20 minutes.

Using a fork or a potato masher, crush the berries a bit so that they become jammy. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, and salt and whisk to combine.

Crack the eggs into a medium bowl, add the buttermilk and remaining 1 Tbsp coconut sugar, and whisk until the mixture is uniform. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix everything together. It’s okay if the batter isn’t perfectly smooth – it’s better to under mix than over mix.

Set a large cast-iron pan, or your largest frying pan over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp coconut oil. Once the oil melts, swirl the pan or brush the pan to evenly coat the surface.

Pour the batter into the pan using a ¼ cup (60ml) increments to form pancakes that are roughly 10cm in diameter, cook only as many pancakes at a time as can fit comfortably.

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The minute that pancakes become too precise is the minute they become no fun, so don’t stress over this – it’s okay if they’re not the same size. Cook the pancakes until small bubbles appear on the surface and the undersides are nicely browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Flip the pancakes over and cook until the second sides are nicely browned, another minute or so.

Transfer to warm plates and continue making pancakes, adding more coconut oil as you go, until you’ve used up all the batter.

Serve pancakes immediately, with more coconut oil on top and the warm roasted blueberries.

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SPIN-OFFS  You can use coconut milk, buttermilk, sour cream or even yoghurt.

SHAKE UP THE TOPPING ROUTINE by roasting just about any fruit in place of the blueberries (berries are the most jammy, but all fruit benefits from the concentrated caramelisation that happens in the oven). Roasted blackberries, sliced bananas, sliced peaches, and thinly sliced apples or pears are all really delicious. Or rhubarb! Just keep an eye on the fruit while it’s roasting, as some types (e.g., apples) take a little longer than others and some (e.g., sliced bananas) take not much time at all.

THE ROASTED FRUIT TOPPING IS VERY VERSITILE; serve it with coconut cream for dessert, on toast spread with goat's cheese for breakfast, or on waffles for any time. Stir it into yogurt. Or serve alongside or grilled rich meat like pork shoulder or pork chops. Or lamb! Lamb loves fruit.

JULIA TURSHEN has co-authored such cookbooks as Spain…A Culinary Road Trip with Mario Batali, It’s All Good with Gwyneth Paltrow, Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen with Dana Cowin, and The Kimchi Chronicles, Hot Bread Kitchen: The Cookbook, The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries, and Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food

She hosted the first two seasons of Radio Cherry Bombe and has written for Vogue, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Saveur, and The Wall Street Journal.  She lives in upstate New York with her wife, dogs, and cat.

 Follow her on Instagram + Twitter!

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Fivelements

Written by lee on . Posted in Reviews, Travel & Lifestyle

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Imagine a location that feels like another world away, but is in reality just a hop, skip and a jump from anywhere in Australia. A place where you can fly and flop all within the space of a few hours and feel like you’ve been transported to a parallel universe.

Located in Bali, nestled alongside the sacred Ayung River near Ubud, and beyond the hustle and bustle of Kuta and Seminyak lies Fivelements, an award winning eco-conscious wellness destination which is inspired by the natural and holistic Balinese way of life.

Fivelements encourages guests to nurture harmony of their spirit, the environment and with one another and tune-in to their physical, emotional and spiritual needs, allowing an organic healing process to naturally unfold.

Medicine cabinet love. My all time favourite ingredients ginger and turmeric.

Upon arrival I was greeted by warm Balinese smiles and given a refreshing coconut welcome drink before being led through pretty gardens and stone pathways to my private modern thatched hut. It literally felt like I had stepped into the colour and magic of a traditional Balinese painting.

My gorgeous hut away from home

Flinging open the wooden doors will reveal a surprising level of plushness and comfort. The beautiful rooms are peaceful and serene with jaw-dropping natural décor and attention to detail. With an emphasis on nature, the elements of timber, bamboo, stone, water and natural tones all meld comfortably within the space and open balmy air.

Sleeping tight under the net

Walking through into the bathroom my heart skipped a beat when I saw the liberal use of stone and wood, housed with bamboo to bring as much of the outside in, and create an ambience of being totally at one with nature.

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And then there was THAT shower.

Forecast: Sunday morning showers

One of the other water highlights of Fivelements is the open-air bathtub which sits inside a private bamboo enclosure, enabling you to enjoy your surroundings during a relaxing salt water soak. It was perfect for soothing my weary yoga muscles after a big day of yoga the day before.

In the early evening, the girls from the spa popped around to offer me a revitalizing bath ritual composed of five powerful healing ingredients: lemongrass to activate blood circulation, aromatic Balinese orange and lime, and pandan leaves and ginger to awaken your senses and clear my mind.

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Bath ingredients!  Orange, pandan, sea salt, ginger and lime.

Move over Vivid Sydney! The supernatural volcanic stone bath featured customised therapy lighting which showcased the seven colours of the chakras, and as you lay there it encouraged the unison of the mind, body and spirit and the connection with nature.

Each of the five residences at Fivelements features a private, hewn-boulder bath overlooking the Ayung River.

Each of the five residences at Fivelements features a private, hewn-boulder bath overlooking the Ayung River.

Post bath time bliss, I sat on the private deck, a wonderful place to unwind from any stresses in laid back style, and perused the menu which was prefaced as offering raw vegan living foods cuisine in celebration of our “aliveness.”


Long lunch with mountains of greens

When it comes to food at Fivelements their goal is simple; to allow mother-nature’s cuisine to shine with all her exciting tastes, textures, vibrant colors and pure flavours. It was evident to me that the food they serves was prepared with love, passion and attention to detail and each dish just oozed the feeling of being so healthy and full of energy-giving nutrients.

Living Foods

The menu is based around the concept of a fine-dining healing cuisine of ‘Living Foods' comprising of raw vegan fare, and other lightly-prepared plant-based dishes. As I like to have a mixture of cooked and raw foods this suited me perfectly.

You can choose to enjoy the refueling food either in your room or at Sakti dining room, which is a bamboo architectural masterpiece, topped off with a sweeping thatched roof in the shape of a banana leaf, a Balinese symbol of food. The restaurant overlooks a pretty lotus pond on one side and the mesmerizing Ayung River on the other.

Virtuous breakfast offerings

During my three day stay, I happily ate my way through their fantastic menu, at breakfast I enjoyed Coconut Chia Porridge with local Tulsi Seeds, Oats, Activated Seeds, Goji Berries and served with Coconut Milk, on day two I had a Superfood Dragon Bowl with Purple Dragonfruit, Banana, Coconut, Chia Seeds, Strawberries, Sprouted Nut Granola, Lime Yoghurt and Cinnamon and on my final day I enjoyed the Spiced Granola with Activated Nuts, Oats, Coconut Milk and Banana, which was my favourite!

Main meals always begun with a serve of Curried Kale Chips with Balinese Spices, and Coconut and one of the highlight meals was the South Indian Dahl with Coconut Yoghurt, Coriander and Chili, served with crunchy flaxseed crackers.

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I made this raw zucchini pasta with marinara sauce during the cooking class

On the menu, there were mountains of zesty green salads to choose from featuring edible flowers, leaves and raw dressings, Balinese Green Urab-Urab with Organic Greens, Vegetables, Herbs, Coconut Bacon and Aromatic Balinese Dressing and one of the popular meals is a Shitake Mushroom Burger with Rice Bun, Caramelized Onions, Kimchi Mayonaise, Umami Ketchup, Pickles, Jicama Slaw, and yummy Sweet Potato Chips which I polished off for dinner.

Dessert was also a feast for the eyes not to mention the tummy, there’s nothing quite like experiencing the Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake with White Chocolate Ice Cream, Raw Cacao Syrup and Chocolate Tuile with a side of Homemade Cashew coconut Ice Cream.

This really is clean eating at it’s finest.

Once you’ve had your fill of fruits and organic vegetables it’s time to relax by the pool on the comfy terry toweling lined day beds and indulge in an afternoon drink.

Lazy days by the pool

There are plenty of beverages to choose from; smoothies, juices and healing and comforting hot elixirs and tonics were all offered. I enjoyed the Bali Spiced raw hot Chocolate and Chai Latte made with locally sourced Tea and Spices, Coconut Milk, Coconut Sugar.

One of the major attractions of Fivelements is the spa which is central to the area and a place where you can not only be slathered in locally made ingredients and transported to a world of bliss but also experience energy healing, rejuvenating massages, deep bodywork, ultra-nourishing body care, local super food facials and unique water healing experiences.

Room with a view

Featuring nine private healing rooms for Balinese therapies, each has their own ensuite bathroom and bathhouse with a river stone healing bathtub.

All of the treatments at Fivelements embrace holistic Balinese-inspired therapies and are administered by traditional Balinese healers using ancient wisdoms passed down from direct lineage.

Following the Balinese principle of Sekala-Niskala, which holds that we all live equally in two worlds; the seen or conscious world Sekala, and the unseen or psychic world Niska- la, the Balinese healers engage the help of the higher divine source during each healing session.

Gorgeous foot soak bath with Balinese sea salt, petals and lime.

 

Whilst I was at Fivelements, I joined Chef Made Tantra for culinary training which was a fantastic experience, he certainly took me on an inspiring gastronomical journey! We created some absolutely delicious basics and dishes such as coconut milk, green juice, cashew dressing, and granola.

A man on a mission

Chef Tantra is a man on a mission with a passionate interest in local and native ingredients having worked in hotels across Bali and overseas.   During the class he showcased exciting and absolutely delicious vegan and vegetarian fare made with flare using aromatic herbs, vegetables, spices and a healthy dose of flavours.

Cooking class ingredients

During the class I had an introduction to living foods and the importance of using local and in season food sources and also picked up some great tips about quick and easy meal preparation, I shared with him some of my own cooking tips too as we had a mutual interest in simple and healthy recipes. He was most interested in nutritional yeast flakes and wheat free tamari!

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I learnt how to make a delicious garden blend soup with fields of greens, crushed garlic and orange, and also a marinara sauce that we had with the zucchini pasta that day for lunch.

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Garden green soup with swirls

The soup was delicious and so energy boosting and I felt like a million dollars afterwards 🙂

I really enjoyed my time at Fivelements and came home refreshed and revitalized with a sense of peace and harmony.

To find out more about what they offer you can visit their website: http://www.fivelements.org

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Panasonic French Door Fridge

Written by lee on . Posted in Cookware & Appliances, Reviews

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I love it when I get to learn new things, particularly when it involves two of my favourite pastimes: food and eating!

Last week I was fortunate enough to be part of an incredible sushi making master class at Toko Restaurant in Sydney. We spent the morning learning from top chefs how to carve and create sashimi and I also had a hand at rolling out some sushi too… then eating it of course.

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This class was one of the added bonuses at the launch of Panasonic’s new range of eco-friendly fridges. The hero product on the day was the new French Door fridge, showcasing an impressive range of functional, intelligent and elegant technologies.

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Within the French Door fridge is a centralised vegetable case which offers an airtight design, keeping humidity levels high, halting the natural drying out process of foods over time. They’ve also introduced Vitaminsafe technology which operates within the vegetable crisper. This activates the natural defenses of fruits and vegetables to help keep them fresher for a longer period of time, saving you money and frequent trips to the supermarket.

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Panasonic also showed off a new premium range of bottom-mount fridges which comes with Prime Fresh technology in a special dedicated compartment. This new feature helps to maintain the flavor, texture and nutrients of produce that lives in the fridge by lightly freezing fresh meat and seafood to around minus three degrees Celsius. As food is only slightly frozen, it extends the life of your perishables while still maintaining nutrients, flavour and texture. A handy time saver that removes the need for long defrosting time.

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All of Panasonic’s fridges keep bacteria and nasties at bay. This is particularly useful if you tend to put things in the fridge and leave them for ages, and then are surprised to discover a soggy Christmas pudding from 2012, or last month’s Thai takeaway. Within the fridge is an Ag Clean silver coated filter which cleans the circulating air to kill 99% of mould and bacteria inside the refrigerator. That’s good news for you, but not such good news for your long-standing fridge dwellers.

Another great environmental aspect of the new range of fridges is that the cooling systems evenly distribute chilled air from the rear panel throughout the refrigerator for gentle cooling, maintaining a constant temperature.

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Energy consumption is reduced due to the four Econavi intelligent sensors that actively monitor usage patterns, lighting and temperature. Once these have been established by this very clever technology, your fridge energy output can be adapted to your unique usage patterns, enabling you to have the most efficient operation of your fridge and also save money on energy bills. And we all want a bit more of that!

The sleek, modern and functional designs with touch controls and recessed curved handles are seamless and good looking enough to complement any kitchen. If you’re in the market for a new fridge, I’d recommend this gorgeous range.  Find out more here.

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The Chopra Center Pryaderm System Review and Giveaway

Written by lee on . Posted in Natural Products, Reviews, Travel & Lifestyle

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The daily ritual of cleansing and nourishing my skin is such a special part of my day, and an important part of any self-care ritual.

Having travelled to India as inspiration for my Ayurvedic cookbook Eat Right for Your Shape, I found it so exciting when I stumbled across this beautiful Ayurvedic line of skin-care products. What is even more exciting is that it completely compliments my lifestyle and philosophies. 

The Chopra Center's PryaDerm System products are all natural and formulated with rejuvenating Ayurvedic herbs specifically selected for their successful ageing benefits.

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Using the right skincare is imperative as you age because much like our digestive system, our skin absorbs every single bit of product that we smooth on top of it, and it heads directly into our bloodstream.

That's why I much prefer to indulge in skincare derived from a natural source. When we use skin care products with highly unnatural chemicals, our body has to absorb and process them. It makes sense that if we use natural products like these, our bodies find it much easier to assimilate and utilise the Ayurvedic herbs to build beautiful new skin cells and to moisturise, smooth and revitalise the skin. 

In Sanskrit, Prya means beloved while Derm derives from the Greek root for skin. This beloved skin care range contains a cleanser, facial mist, day lotion, night cream and hand salve and they smell absolutely heavenly.

The Rejuvenating Cleansing Mousse is light and airy and contains organic aloe, lavender and alma it glides over the skin and is effortless to wash off leaving your skin feeling fresh and cleansed. 

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Use the Facial Mist next to tone and hydrate. It includes soothing organic aloe, fragrant lavender and salvia (not saliva which I read twice thinking SALIVA??? Whose saliva??. 

The Skin Brightening Day Lotion is used in the morning and contains saffron, a wonderful medicinal spice which has been used since ancient times to brighten and purify the skin. I also use it in my recipes one of my favourites being my gorgeous pumpkin and Saffron Soup. 

At night, the Rejuvenating Night Creme is wonderful for restoring your skin as you sleep.  It features Ayurvedic herbs such as Amla, Haritake and Turmeric that promote rejuvenation and regeneration.  

The Hand Salve is the final product in the system and it it wonderful on the skin.  I use this daily and I find it nourishes and protects my hands and after applying they feel richly moisturised but not sticky.  The salve blends into the skin really well.  This is a great product for the hands which often show the first signs of ageing when forgotten about. 

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Fortunately, The Chopra Center is giving away a full Pryaderm System and you can enter here. The giveaway will end May 15th 11:59pm PDT.

If you want to get your hands on this beautiful skincare range now, or purchase any other goodies from The Chopra Center, they have kindly offered all members of the Supercharged community, 10% off items in the Chopra Center Store plus free shipping. This offer will expire May 15th 11:59pm PDT. All you need to do is use the coupon code Supercharged10 at the checkout.

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Siberian Cedar Nut Oil

Written by lee on . Posted in Food & Drinks, Natural Products, Reviews

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Siberian Cedar Nut Oil is a beautiful oil made from Cedar Trees that can be used unheated in and on food as a dressing or also as a beautiful medicinal body oil.

Through the process of oil extraction, the nuts produced by the majestic cedar trees are crushed in-between pieces of wood, ensuring the oil has no contact with metal and keeps it’s formidable properties, this process is also known as crushing, 

A truly traditional technique, oil extraction is still done by hand with all natural tools to enhance the wonderful density and flavour of the oil.

Being a precious natural source of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, this wonderfully luscious oil is unique to the market and a great new addition to your kitchen or daily beauty routine.   

Studies have shown that Siberian Cedar Nut Oil can not only help you maintain a healthy weight when consumed, but can also soothe symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), heartburn and gastritis, promote the growth of healthy bacteria in our gut, as well as leave your skin beautifully glowing.  

This medicinal oil is a good choice of oils for dressings, as it has a wonderful woody and soft flavour yet is rich in minerals.

The oil assists the digestive process and helps to heal ulcerations or damage caused to the digestive tract.  It is also reported to stimulate the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria so it's a great food to add to your gut healing tool kit.

You can create a golden supercharged dressing just by combining it with lemon and garlic and pouring it over your favourite salad, it pairs particularly well with a fresh garden salad. 

Or why not add it to your baking for a distinct and aromatic nutty aroma?

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Working wonders as an oil for your skin, Siberian Cedar Nut Oil enriches the skin leaving it soft and nourished.  The vitamin E content of Siberian cedar nut oil exceeds that of olive oil by five times and coconut oil by three times.

I believe that whatever you’re willing to put in your body, you should be able to put onto it as well and therefore it’s essential to consider naturally produced products bursting with natural properties such as Siberian Cedar Nut Oil which beautifully compliments this mantra and can sit happily in your pantry as well as your beauty box. 

Click here to enrich your life with this healing oil. 

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Cork Leaf Yoga Mat

Written by lee on . Posted in Natural Products, Reviews, Travel & Lifestyle

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Being a Yoga instructor and a real believer in practicing yoga to improve health, yoga mats are a beloved tool of mine and one I like to use frequently in my weekly yoga teaching.

Cork Leaf Yoga mats are a new breed of mats and made from all natural resources; cork-backed with natural tree rubber and are 100% biodegradable. Eco, self-cleaning, biodegradable, non-slip, and natural, they are all the things you want a yoga mat to be; soft yet supportive and offering a whole host of wonderful attributes. 

The beautiful eco-friendly mat is made entirely from 100% natural cork, and constructed from natural Cork tree means that Cork Leaf mats naturally disinfect. Cork kills all bacteria growing on it, as well as mold, leaving your yoga mat smelling sweet and fragrant after every session of yoga.

Being a member of Carbon Neutral Plant-A-Tree Initiative shows how dedicated and committed Cork Leaf are to giving back and being as environmentally sustainable as possible.

This is a real bonus for me, as I love using equipment that is naturally sourced and working with manufacturers who are doing their bit with our precious planet preservation in mind.  

Although you may be sceptical about the comfort of a cork mat, as soon as you step on the mat, you can feel the slightly spongy support beneath your toes.

Boasting a robust organic build with heavenly comfort, you can feel that this yoga mat is meant to last and will. 

Step forth with the knowledge that you’re helping mother earth whilst you practice and that CORK LEAF is an initiative to help minimise the negative ecological impact of yoga in Australia.

Cork Leaf mats are a great go-to mat to cover all of your natural bases. 

Click here to find out more about a new way of moving. 

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Pete Evans Spiralise!

Written by lee on . Posted in Books, Reviews

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Spiralise! is a fun, easy to digest book which is packed with inventive vegetable dense recipes.

All centred around the use of a spiraliser, this book really opens up your mind to a new way of cooking.

Featuring simple healthy recipes and nutritious meals that are not your usual Saturday night dinners, Pete Evans has gone above and beyond with creativity in this book and it’s infectious!

Bursting with recipes designed to increase your vegetable intake, anyone with a twirling machine can enjoy Spiralise!

Hosting a range of enticing recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there are swirly soups, curly vegetables and delicious meat-based dishes; basically something for everyone to get stuck into and practice the art of spiralising.  

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Even if you’re new to the world of spiralisation, you’ll be amazed with the variety of uses displayed throughout the book and the colours, flavours and inventiveness of the dishes too. 

Many of the back to basic ingredients used in the recipes are a breath of fresh air, and feature good-for-you real whole foods from mother nature.

Pete has concocted some fantastic quick and easy meals that are medicinal feasts, crucial for a healthier life, and with every turn of a page, you’ll truly believe more and more that he himself lives by this very mantra.

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I had the pleasure of working and spending time with Pete recently and he’s not only a super fun guy to be around, but also an exceptional cook with a unique way of making cooking feel effortless and fabulously virtuous. For example, his gorgeous recipe for Pad Thai with spiralised zucchini noodles and tons of crunchy nuts is angelic in comparison to the usual Pad Thai ladened with carb and sugar-heavy ingredients. 

It's safe to say that Pete’s Spiralise! is a fun and exciting book, and boasts recipes that are far from ordinary, whilst making spiralising a vital part of any healthy kitchen.

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Go here to find out more details about this nourishing bookshelf must have. 

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Lola Berry The Happy Life

Written by lee on . Posted in Books, Reviews

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The Happy Life is a captivating and easy to navigate book which is in part a mixture of fun and healthy recipes as well as a sweet guide to whole wellness.

Featuring simple, healthy recipes and nutritious meal ideals that contain relaxed ingredients, it’s refreshing to discover a healthy cook book that is devoid of too many strict guidelines.

Although this book oozes Lola’s unique laid-back holistic approach, it's obvious to the reader that she really knows her stuff when it comes to nutrition.

The beautifully crafted recipes are wholesome, cute and scrumptious and the book features stunning photography that captures a sense of wonderment at every turn of the page. 

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Not only does Lola demonstrate her health food nerdiness, she also illustrates her desire to strive at the ultimate goal; happiness. Talking through nourishment, mind, body, soul, friendship, intimacy, career and travel you can feel how personable and down-to-earth Lola is in this personal feel good book.

I like her unique approach to creating recipes that not only light up the page, like her gorgeous Salted Caramel and Cinnamon Macadamias, ideal for any movie night, but also the fact that her recipes are super tasty and adaptable for many different food tastes.

For more information about The Happy Life visit here.

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Green Nutritionals Australian SuperGrass

Written by lee on . Posted in Food & Drinks, Ingredients, Natural Products, Reviews

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When it comes to being healthy an alkaline body is key, sometimes it’s hard to keep your unique body alkaline with all of the foods available on the supermarket shelves. From fast food, processed and refined carbohydrates to ready meals stating to be ‘healthy’ it really is a minefield out there.

If you’re on a journey to rebalance your bodies alkalinity in order to restore wellness and health, or if you’re looking to maintain your glowing 7.4 on the ph scale, a green powder supplement is a great way to do so without having to overhaul your daily diet. 

I’m a huge advocate of a balanced lifestyle, not being too strict as to stress about what you’re putting in your body, but making sure that what goes in is healthy and nourishing. And so I’m aware that some healthy foods I digest on a daily basis, like dairy products and meat, can increase the acidity in my body.

Green Supergrass is a supercharged way to lower your body’s acidity. With a daily smoothie including this powerful leaf based nutrition supplement can really help me manage ph levels. 

I love the fact that this product is simple yet uses three of the most potent young leaves and mixes them together to create a perfect alkalising blend of nutritional supplement full of amazing green goodness.

These potent young guns are Barley Grass, Wheat Grass and Alfalfa Grass. All containing powerful antioxidants from vitamin B1 (a memory boosting antioxidant), Vitamins C and E (antioxidants which provide protection to cells against free radical damage), Vitamins K and U.

All grasses being extremely alkaline means that digesting them can help keep the body's alkaline and acidity ratio balanced. Our cells cannot adequately function if the pH range (which measures alkaline and acidity) is out.

Most processed foods are acidic, and when we consume too many of them, the acidity/alkaline balance is upset. This may result in possible fatigue and low energy levels.

I love that Green Nutritionals have left out the 'filler' ingredients, such as bulk fibre and insignificant amounts of herbs and synthetic vitamins that provide little to no health benefits, ensuring that gram for gram you receive the most nutrient-rich and bio-available super food supplement possible. 

Green SUPERGRASS is produced sustainably and in harmony with nature and that always gets my seal of approval!  You can find out more about it here.

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The Chopra Centre Ayurvedic Teas

Written by lee on . Posted in Food & Drinks, Reviews

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If you’re looking to immerse yourself in mind-body healing then a great way to fill up your wellness cup is with a soothing mug of Ayurvedic herbal tea.

Ayurveda is an ancient healing system, originating in India, that takes
a holistic approach to feeling well and living in harmony with yourself and your surroundings. Through nutrition, yoga and meditation, it focuses on treating the individual as a whole rather than a specific issue or disease, so that you can achieve balance and good health, not only in your physical body, but also in your mind and spirit.

Ayurveda teaches us that balance is the key to health and happiness.

There are three doshas or unique constitutions central to Ayurvedic philosophy and each person can lean towards vata, pitta or kapha or be a mixture of two or three.

When it comes to diet and nutrition and how to balance your dominant dosha, The Chopra Centre teas are a delicious way to tailor your diet and lifestyle to suit your unique constitution and bring about harmony to your body.

There are four gorgeous organic teas in the range, Relaxing Tea, Soothing Tea, Invigorating Tea and Ginger Tea and they comprise of a specially crafted blend of natural and organic herbs and spices.

Relaxing Tea for Vata Dosha

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I tried the Relaxing Tea to balance vata as I am predominantly a vata type. Vata people are creative and contagiously energetic. They make good teachers, artists, actors and professional speakers. The elements that govern vata are air and ether and, just like the wind, they can quickly get out of and back into balance.

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The Chopra Centre Relaxing Tea for vata dosha features organic herbs and spices such as cinnamon bark, roasted chicory root, ginger root, cardamom, nutmeg and licorice root.

It’s a beautifully tasting blend which will soothe, warm, and harmonize your body, mind and spirit.

Relaxing Tea helps to relieve stress or restlessness, silence an over-active or busy mind, warm you in colder weather and settle a disturbed and uneasy digestive system, something that vatas can suffer from.

Soothing Tea to Balance Pitta

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Pittas are fiery people with leadership skills and intellect – they love a good debate! The elements that reign in pitta are fire and water. Pitta’s qualities are sharp, hot, oily, smooth and mobile. Pitta heat is responsible for digestion and transformation of food, thoughts and physical exertion into
 energy. The state of your pitta digestive fire (agni) determines whether you are healthy and digesting your food properly.

This refreshing and invigorating aromatic tea will help to soothe, cool, and harmonize to take the edge off irritability and impatience that goes hand in hand with the pitta dosha.

The Chopra Centre specialized soothing tea blend features organic spearmint leaves, organic coriander, organic fennel seeds, organic hibiscus flowers, organic peppermint leaves, organic citronella, organic chamomile flowers, organic lemongrass to liven and cool down a lively and intense mind.

It has a spicy chai like flavour and is very easy to drink.

Invigorating Tea for Balancing Kapha

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Kapha people are steady, grounded and nurturing. They tend to be the healthiest of the three doshas, particularly when it comes to mental health. Kapha is the dosha responsible for lubrication and structure of the body. Its elements are water and earth, and its governing qualities are wet, cold, heavy, oily and static. Kaphas like to be
 in their comfort zone, and once they find a place where they’re content, they find it hard to move. They don’t like change or disruption, and like to stay where they are.

If you’re a kapha who suffers from a sluggish digestion, this balanced tea blend provides natural energy without containing caffeine. Invigorating Tea contains a fragrant blend of herbs to speed up your metabolism and enliven your natural energy. It’s the kind of tea which is good for reducing congestion within the body, something that can be common in kapha types. Ginger helps to rekindle the digestive fire or agni in your body. Cloves and black pepper warm and stimulate, while cardamom and allspice warm and balance. To refresh and rejuvenate, a mixture of earthy cinnamon, peppermint, and orange peel are used.

Ginger Tea

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The Chopra Center's Ginger Tea has a pungent, earthy and warming nature and helps to enliven your digestion and boost metabolism. Digestive fire or agni is stimulated and in Ayurvedic philosophy, a strong agni supports better absorption of nutrients and elimination of toxins. The tea features Wakaya Perfection 100% organic pink Fijian ginger and anti-inflammatory spices, Organic Ginger Root, Lemon Peel, Ginger Pieces and Black Pepper. Sipping on this tea will provide a spicy and fresh flavour and will instantly calm your senses.

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To make the perfect cup of Ayurvedic tea, use freshly boiled water and let it steep for 2-3 minutes or up to four minutes for a brisk and deeper flavour.

You can drink up to two to three cups a day or more to bring balance to the body.

For more information about the teas and to purchase visit The Chopra Centre.

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The Chopra Centre Ayurvedic Remedies

Written by lee on . Posted in Food & Drinks, Natural Products, Reviews

Ayurnas – Ayurvedic Cold and Allergy Remedy


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Throughout the seasons, cold and flu symptoms and environmental allergies can surface, and really knock you for six.

In wintertime, colds and flu can be at their worst and in springtime, many people can suffer from seasonal allergies.

Some of the first signs of a seasonal allergy are runny nose, red eyes, congestion, sneezing, bronchial irritation and itchy skin. This allergic reaction is generally due to an inflammatory response within the body, so it’s important to have a low irritant lifestyle and consume a diet which is low in inflammatory foods and that means cutting down on sugar-filled and processed foods, pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables, caffeine, unhealthy fats and alcohol.

If allergies have gotten you down and you want to relieve them naturally, The Chopra Centre offers a range of supporting natural oils and treatments to help abate the symptoms of colds and flus and allergies. Ayurnas is a tri-doshic oil treatment that is used at The Chopra Center to help relieve cold and allergy symptoms such as congestion, dryness, and post-nasal drip as well as stress related symptoms such as headaches and muscle tension.

It’s created with a customised-blend using ingredients such as organic safflower oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, vitamin E, infused with the natural aromas of eucalyptus, rose, sandalwood, peppermint, lavender, and basil to help to open nasal passages and clear the head.

To use Ayurnas oil, all you need to do is simply place a few drops of the oil on your baby finger and apply it inside your nostril. Then gently breathe in through your nose and repeat on the other side.

This can be repeated four to six times per day.

Biochavan – Ayurvedic Rejuvenating Antioxidant Herbal Jam


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If you’re looking for a healthy way to start the day, why not try a spoonful of nutritive jam spread onto gluten free toast? This is a special kind of jam though, and one which is not loaded with sugar or preservatives and it’s full of rejuvenating and life enhancing qualities. In fact it has long been referred to as The Elixir of Life.

Often referred to as chyawanprash, Biochavan is a valuable herbal dietary supplement which is popular in Ayurvedic nutrition. The Chopra Centre Herbal Jam contains amalaki, a Sanskrit term for the Indian gooseberry or amla. It’s a greenish-yellow fruit which possesses innumerable health benefits and is used by Ayurvedic practitioners as a wonder herb to treat health ailments as it does not present any unwanted or harmful effects.

Amalaki, the primary ingredient of the herbal jam is a rich natural source of vitamin C and contains bioflavonoids, flavones, polyphenols and carotenoids. It’s a powerful antioxidant for the body and boasts the ability to cleanse and detox, improve your digestive functioning, and increase your immunity.

The Chopra Centre Herbal Jam has a sweet and pungent taste and it is blended forty-one rejuvenating herbs, notably Ashwagandha and Shatavari, both traditional Ayurvedic healing herbs.

It’s recommended to take one teaspoon a day, and you can either spread it onto crackers or gluten free toast, eat it directly from the spoon or dissolve it in warm water or milk of choice.

Vedamune® – Ayurvedic Herbal Immuno-Support


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According to the philosophies and principles of Ayurveda, your immune system and natural resistance to germs and disease is directly related to the state of your health and wellness. Being free of disease means that your doshas are in balance, your five senses are working properly and your digestive fire or agni is balanced, resulting in the appropriate functioning of cleansing systems in your body. Once this happens, and when the mind, body, and spirit are in harmony then a person is not susceptible disease.  

Vedamune® is a Chopra Centre immune boosting supplement which contains powerful Ayurvedic herbs such as ashwagandha, guduchi and amalaki, each with their own rejuvenating properties. If you, like many people suffer from a busy lifestyle or low functioning immune system, this completely natural herbal supplement can help to promote wellness, strengthen your immune system and support your body’s natural defences. For many people stress can be a damaging force to your immune system and can result in health issues arising.

If you sense your immune system is not functioning as well as it should, as a result of stress, fatigue, or exposure to germs or viruses, it is recommended that you take Vedamune® twice daily for up to 7 days to naturally boost your defences and improve your digestive fire.

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