Friday, March 11, 2011

We've moved!

I got this in an email yesterday - so cute and so true - loved ones are absolutely special.

If you're wondering what is going on - Fertile Body Heart and Soul has gotten so big, we needed an overhaul.

So from now on, you will find us at this address:

Same blog. Same me - but with an awesome new look! Please join me over there.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

4 delectable bars coming your way...

Livvi just had the honours of pulling a name out of a hat - if you're unhappy with the decision, you can take it up with her - she is a totally rational almost 3 year old. Good luck with that.

Who doesn't need luck is our winner! CONGRATULATIONS JoMark! We will have these off to you today - you're going to L.O.V.E. them.

These are in stock at the clinic now, so if you can't find them at your awesome local grocer, you can certainly find them at my awesome clinic - The Pagoda Tree.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day 2011

Grabbing my beautiful sister and her (at the time) tiny daughter for a hug - celebrating sisterhood.

Today marks the 100th annual International Woman's Day - which celebrates and recognises achievements that women have made economically, politically and socially.

As a woman, I'm grateful for the progression we have made over so many years. Each day in the clinic, I'm also reminded on how our needs vary from men. Whilst we strive for equality in the work place and a louder voice, physically and mentally we are very different. Both sexes are specifically unique. We have different requirements nutritionally, our hormones are different, our bodies work on different cycles and on the whole we generally require more emotional support. From a fertility perspective, we see the greatest variance as women carry and nurture offspring in the womb.

You may recall a post I placed up last week - I love how it demonstrated emotionally the beauty of sisterhood :: They teach it at Stanford.
"Women connect with each other differently and provide support
systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life
experiences. Physically this quality "girlfriend time" helps us to create
more serotonin - a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can
create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men
often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a
buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their
personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing,
hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings? Rarely."

Celebrate your uniqueness this International Women's Day - and grab your sister, mother, friend and colleague for a hug.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

GIVEAWAY :: Emma & Tom's Life Bars

I almost tripped and gave myself whiplash when I took a double take to check out these beauties.

WOW! Fruit bars that are actually GOOD for you - packed with enzymes, antioxidants and busting with deliciousness. I'm in love. REAL love - my favourite is the cacao & orange bar.

These wonder bars are made with no more than 5 ingredients and include exceptionally choice ingredients. But what got me was - NO SUGAR! They are all kinds of fruit and nuts. They had me at hello.

Head to the website for more info - Emma & Tom's Website

I have to share. I'm giving away one of each flavour (4 in total) to one lucky follower. Just tell me which flavour you think would be your favourite. (I mean how do you decide? How good does Lemon Fig sound?!!) For your nearest stockist refer to the website - or we have them at The Pagoda Tree for you to grab one to try at your next visit.

* winner will be announced & notified Wednesday 9th of March.

Friday, March 4, 2011

my fertility sandals

You might have heard me joke about my fertility sandals recently. They are my very orange and much loved salt water sandals and came all the way from little pinwheel. So why am I referring to them as my fertility sandals? Well, I know that the colour orange, according to various therapies represents fertility - hence the crowning 'fertility sandals.'

Orange is the colour that carries both yellow and red. When you combine these properties of the two colours you get subtle influences of both - orange might be the colour you should be sporting right now! It's also related to the uterus, large intestine, breasts, testis & prostate - all the necessary organs for reproduction. Its influence is said to treat aliments including period pain, digestive issues and support breastfeeding. It also stimulates the thyroid (important for fertility to stimulate hormones).

If you're reading this wondering how this all works, I assume you're not alone. I'm not an expert in colour therapy but my understanding and logic certainly tells me that when I wear particular colours, I reflect a certain mood. More scientifically, colour is said to vibrate a specific frequencies just as organs and glands in our bodies also do the same. Colours respond to areas of the body the vibrate the same frequency - this meaning that these organs (mentioned above) must vibrate to the same tune of the colour orange. When we become sick, our body become imbalanced and may not function in their proper frequencies. When we can restore this (using colour in this instance) we can benefit health and create harmony within.

So whats the best way to incorporate orange into your life? According to Alla Kondrant, it's best not to go painting walls - subtle and small is the key. Use orange accessories both as attire and to decorate your homes, especially the bedroom. She says that orange is sure to brighten up the space and enhance communication between a couple.

Orange is a warm colour - great to lift any spirits but a colour that isn't as much now days (compared to the 60's & 70's). Watch out if I find me some orange boots this winter - I will be all fitted up to the neck to take on this fertility business! Or I could simply dress like Hayley from little pinwheel but would my patients take me seriously is the question....

Don't forget to enter my Emma And Tom's Life Bar Competition. Entries close tomorrow night at 11:59pm.

Good food friday :: Micro Mania Microgreens sharing the love challenge

Images by CJ photography

Nadia & Anthony from Micro Mania set me the challenge - to come up with a savory dish and a dessert using Micro Mint and Micro Lemon Balm. Last Saturday saw me rise to the challenge of creating healthy, nutritious and beautiful eats - just in time for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival which kicks of as of today - 4th of March, here in this wonderful city.

"Microgreens are rich in a wide variety of energy giving nutrients. Packed with minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium along with chlorophyll, lecithin, active enzymes, proteins (amino acids), vitamins and are full of antioxidants - extremely beneficial for human health and been found to contain particular health promoting or disease preventing properties and are totally fat and cholesterol free! Shoots that are eaten while still growing and 'alive' can have up to 100 times more enzymes than in fruit and vegetables as well as also being a good supply of vitamins A, C ,E and K plus B complex. The fresher the shoot, the higher the vitamin content hence the reason why these living microgreens are such a great lifestyle alternative."

Need I say anymore - these recipes provide wonderful essentials plus taste bud approval.

pomegranate broad bean mint and feta salad

Depending on when broad beans are in season - my pick would be to use the fresh variety if possible. Otherwise frozen are available from your local supermarket.

1 pack broad beans

1 pomegranate - arils (seeds) removed ready to be used

1 tin of Persian feta

the juice of 1 lemon

3 tbs Olive oil

I garlic clove crushed

1 bunch of Micro Mint (available from Micro Mania)

salt and pepper to taste

Combine broad beans, pomegranate, 3/4 of the feta and 1/2 the mint in a salad bowl.

In an appropriate container combine lemon, crushed garlic, oil, salt and pepper and shake vigorously to combine ingredients until creamy.

Pour dressing over the combined ingredients and toss to coat. Garnish with remaining feta and mint. Serve immediately.

raspberry mold with lemon balm and double cream

Again, fresh is best but you can also purchase frozen berries at your local supermarket.

4 punnets of raspberries

1/2 cup of honey

1 bunch of lemon balm

1 sachet of gelatin

Double cream to serve

In a saucepan combine raspberries, 3/4 of the lemon balm and honey. Melt down the two on a very low heat (approximately 10 minutes) until well combined.

Once combined, push mixture through a sieve to separate raspberry seeds. Discard.

In a clean saucepan, place in sieved mixture and stir continuously until almost boiling - careful not to allow to boil.

Sprinkle gelatin over the top and mix well until dissolved.

Pour into molds and place in fridge until set (approximately 2 hours).

Once set and ready to serve, remove from mold and serve with cream and left over lemon balm to garnish.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

They Teach It at Stanford

These are the girls in my family - we share genetics but most of all we share friendship.

I receive this email last night and I just had to share it!

"I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last
lecture was on the mind-body connection - the relationship between stress
and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other
things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to
be married to a woman, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she
could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her

At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support
systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life
experiences. Physically this quality ╬▓girlfriend time" helps us to create
more serotonin - a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can
create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men
often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a
buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their
personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing,
hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings? Rarely.

Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our
sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said
that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health
as jogging or working out at a gym.

There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we
are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with
friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged not
true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal
relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as

So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just
pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good
for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky. Sooooo let's toast to our
friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it's very good for our health."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

meet Amy.

Image by the lovely Clare Metcalf Photography

This is Amy - and we can show her face on my blog because she isn't a dentist. She is my Amy. Amy is my new assistant, and it is fair to say I am absolutely beyond excited that she is joining us here at the clinic.

This has been a rather frantic week so far at The Pagoda Tree. Sara, my business partner and I, said our goodbye's on Monday, as we both walk our separate ways as health practitioners. Not an easy thing to do by any means - but I am thankful. Thankful for 8 wonderful years together. Thankful for the beauty she brought to this clinic not just in presence and appearance but as a whole package. I wish her all the blessings in her future journey - she will do great things because she is a wonderful practitioner and more-so a beautiful woman.

New beginnings make room for changes. Some big, some small. I'm really excited about this new chapter in my life, for the clinic and for the future.

Amy has a lot of work to do! She's a go-er and I know she's up for it. I'm equally thankful for her ability to slip into the clinic and make this transition for me as painless as possible. Thank you Amy - you have no idea what you're in for!

Monday, February 28, 2011

breathing a NEW breath of fresh air

In...... and out..... For all those who joined me with the End of Summer Body Cleanse.... YOU'VE DONE IT! Well done to you. The emails have been flooding in of just how amazing you are all feeling. What's more, you have inspired a new week of cleansers - there is a big bout of cleansers starting today also. For the newbies, there is an entire weeks worth of recipes on the blog - so go back and check them out for inspiration, you won't be left hungry with these wonderful treats I have complied for you.

Cleansing is nothing short of a life changing process. Each and every time I cleanse I learn something new about myself. This time is no different - I've discovered a new level of clarity, and a real sense of calmness through my entire self. Many of you have been reporting this also, as well as a heightened sense of awareness not just within but for the things you are putting into your body. Be encourage to continue with good eating habits - we have been blessed with amazing and beautiful bodies - and in seriousness my heart does break when I see the way in which we can abuse and take ourselves for granted. Health isn't something we are simply given, it is something we need to work at and maintain.

Since substantial diet changes at the beginning of the month, I have been able to see a new perspective of just how important the fuel we put into our bodies is. The connection between fertility and food is even more evident to me right now. Poor food/lifestyle leads to poor gut function. The gut and the bowel are so closely related; the bowel and the uterus share the same nerve innervation; this sequence of events that occur inside us everyday must be oiled and greased correctly to work well.

Be encouraged by all of this, continue to eat well and respect your inner workings. There are some wonderful events coming up (like Sam's) that can show you new and exciting ways to prepare your food and deliver everything to your body that it needs! I will be joining the crowds next week at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival at some of their events - come along and learn something new too!

I'm so excited to be attending Sam's surf spa food event - come along with me - we might learn something new together!

SURF SPA FOOD EVENT Monday 7th March 2011. South Melbourne Market 6.30pm.

Surf RetreatsJoin therapeutic chef Samantha Gowing for a transformational journey into her world of Conscious Cuisine. Sam will share her proven methods of achieving optimal wellness in daily life. Discover the secrets of her global Surf Spa Food business and how you can create an amazing lifestyle in the hospitality wellness industry. A must for organic business and spa owners.

What: Surf Spa Food
When: 7 March
Time: 6:30PM – 8:30PM
Where: South Melbourne Market, Corner Cecil and Coventry Streets, South Melbourne
Cost: $110.00
Bookings: 02 6685 5400 / 0411 852 387

Saturday, February 26, 2011

beans glorious beans!

Image from Hayley @ little pinwheel - who by the way since starting the cleanse has developed her very own 6 pack. You heard it here first.

This is the most delicious recipe - the first time I made this was for my birthday dinner (amongst other things) where I had a tapas style meal. It works perfectly as a side dish or as a main. You could add some brown rice if you wanted a bit more - I find it delicious on it's own. Definitely a household favourite.

beans braised in olive oil and tomato

olive oil
2 onions chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely or crushed
thyme sprigs
1 tin of canned tomato
300gm green beans, ends trimmed off
50ml red wine vinegar
3 teaspoons of coriander seeds

pre-heat oven 160 degrees
Place olive oil in an ovenproof saucepan over a high heat on the stove (of you do not have an ovenproof pan, you will need to use two separate dishes).
Add 2 tbs of oil, adding garlic and onion and sweat until translucent - approximately 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, thyme (10 sprigs) and cook for a few minutes before adding vinegar. Bring to a simmer.
Place baking paper over the pan and cover with foil.
Transfer to oven and roast for 1 - 1.5 hours (or as long as possible really - up to 4 hours)
Increase oven temperature and place beans into the baking dish. Sprinkle with coriander seeds. Recover with baking paper and foil and roast for a further 20 minutes or until beans are cooked.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Good Food Friday Treats :: cleansers apple crumble

Hayley was so excited to make and snap this one - she called seventy eleven times to tell me so! I don't blame her really...

Cleansers will welcome this one as it comes as a sweet treat for your weekend. Apples are starting to make their way into the grocers - they are delicious and are the all round wonder food being full of antioxidents, canter fighting properties, good for your heart and assist in weight loss. What are you waiting for? Just beware - Hayley will be over in an instant if you do whip it up tonight!

cleansers apple crumble
4 apples
2 peaches
1 cup of rolled oats
1/2 cup of crasins (or sultanas)
1/2 cup of walnuts/almonds (or nuts of your choice)
1/4 sunflower seeds

pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
Peel apples and cut into chunks.
Place in a saucepan with 1 cup of water and bring to the boil.
Once boiling, gently simmer for approx 15 - 20 minutes or until the apples are soft.
Remove from heat and set aside. Strain liquid but keep for later use.

In a bowl combine dry ingredients.
In a baking dish, place apples in the bottom to cover the dish. Sprinkle dry ingredients on top. Once done, pour 1/2 cup of the left over juice over the top of the dry ingredients and place in the oven - cook for 15-20 minutes, checking regularly or until the top is golden brown.


*Those cleansing - If you're stuck for dinner tonight (because I've shared a dessert rather than a main) you can't go past a big tray of roast veggies - get in it whatever you can; pumpkin, potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, red peppers, onion. The list is endless!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

shiitake and barley soup

Since the weather has turned slightly cooler - so must the food. This will warm you good and proper!

I could look at these food images all day! Thank you Hayley.

shiitake and barley soup

8 dried shiitake mushrooms
1tbs oil/coconut oil
4 spring onions chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 celery stick, diced
1 carrot, diced
250g fresh shiitake mushrooms chopped
2lt of veggie stock
200gm of pearl barley

Place dried mushrooms in a bowl with hot water. Soak for 30 minutes. Once soaked, squeeze out the liquid from the mushrooms and slice thinly.

Heat oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add spring onions, garlic, celery, carrot and fresh mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until softened. Add stock and barley and 125ml of water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and summer for about 40 minutes, until the barley is tender.

Plate up and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

we quit sugar! talking with Jo Foster

THIS is the lovely Jo Foster positively glowing sans sugar!

I would be kidding if I didn't say it's been a huge month for me. Inspired by the lovely Sarah Wilson, I made the decision to quit sugar at the beginning of Febuary. I also started Feb fast. At the time I wasn't sure how I was going manage without dark chocolate, but now I couldn't be laughing at myself more. The month has been nothing short of wonderful! For me, the big shift was in my state of mental clarity – it has been amazing. My brain feels like it is working at a new level. In addition - my skin is really clear and I have lost a few kilo's along the way.

I asked Jo – who works with Sarah Wilson to share how she has been going since she gave sugar the boot. Here is our conversation:

Why quit sugar? I can tell you are a leader not a follower so what was your motivation?

I actually spent a lot of last year refining and tweaking my eating habits, and had been feeling for a few months that I needed to step it up another notch. Giving up sugar was "THE NOTCH", but I was really hesitant to take that leap.... Then the lovely Sarah Wilson declared that she was going to do the no sugar as well, and, well, I'm a girl, we like to do things with friends, so I figured if I was ever going to actually do it, I might as well do it with Sarah. Also, she forced me... ha :) I think I was about 85% convinced when I read David Gillespie's "Sweet Poison", and then that was it. I was on board. And I'm not one for doing anything half heartedly - once I'm in, I'M IN!

What changes have you noticed - are you hotter already? No seriously have you noticed changes in your body? Mind? Tastebuds?

Ha, yeah, I'm super hot now! No, I wish! I have noticed my taste buds changing, and my sense of smell! Our vanilla fridge wipe(which I used to love) smells sickly sweet to me now, as do some sauces that my friend's cook with. I am finding I am loving the taste of my natural yoghurt - which was really 'tart' a few weeks ago. I'm finding it quite sweet now that I'm not eating anything really sugary. I thought I was pretty sharp mentally(don't laugh!) but I feel really alert. There's a much brighter sense of clarity - I feel like all of my senses are heightened. I've been off sugar for three weeks(started Friday 28th Jan) and I've lost a kilo as well - which is a miracle, as I've been eating LOTS of cheese to curb my sugary cravings!

Will you go back? No! I feel really good. And I'm really aware of how bad sugar(fructose) is for me, so I couldn't possibly justify ranting on about it, only to embrace it all over again... I'm of the persuasion that once you know something, you're responsible for what you know(yeah, ouch!), and even if I don't like what I know about sugar, I know too much to let myself go sugar crazy again. Sigh, the responsibility of being a grown up hey.... Having said that, I'm sure there'll be days down the track where I take a slice of cake(ahhhh, CAKE!) offered at a birthday party, but I'm ever hopeful that I will only have a bite or two, and not want any more. (is that even possible!?) As I said, ever hopeful!

Advice to others thinking about quitting sugar - even if for a short period of time? Try it! What have you got to lose! Other than a crazy addiction you don't need! My advice - you've got to do it cold turkey. When we interviewed Gillespie, he said this, and it really impacted me. He said that a smoker doesn't make the effort to quit, and then just allow themselves a cigarette a day. That's not helpful to the process at all. I think the same applies here. If I'd been allowing myself a 'little' sugar every day, I'm never truly free of that addiction am I? And cold turkey will be quicker. And more intense, YES, but, it will be quicker!

Favorite food replacing sugar - At the moment I'm addicted to haloumi! And avocado. I keep driving to my favourite bookshop/cafe in Bondi, and ordering their smoked chicken salad, with EXTRA HALOUMI. It's delicious. And it completely satisfies. I have no sugary cravings if I have a bit of haloumi! Haloumi is the new Cadburys!

Last one - I think you're on feb fast? How did you feel combining the two? I am doing FebFast! I'm not actually a big drinker - maybe a couple of glasses of wine in a week... so it wasn't too bad. Although, once I stopped the sugar, there have been a few nights I've stared longingly at the bottles of wine in our kitchen! In hindsight, doing both at the same time has been really good. The no alcohol is probably also helping with the mental clarity!

Quitting sugar might not be at the top of your list of things to do for 2011 - but I hope you feel encouraged by seeing how wonderful both Jo and I feel without it. We have unfortunately become so 'addicted' to sugar, refined foods, caffeine and alcohol many of us panic at the idea of going without it – just like I did a month ago. For me the bottom line is that these things are ok in moderation - but they really aren't doing our body any favours. When we eat sugar, we want more. The cycle continues and we continue to attempt to fill up on sugar when really we would be better to fill up on whole foods.

Sugar fueled foods don't supply us with adequate nutrients - our body tells us we are dissatisfied, as it's nutritional needs haven't been met and so we eat more - more sugar. Swapping sugary foods for wholesome alternatives means that your body is getting all the vitamins and minerals it wants . In turn, you aren't left looking for more food because you feel satisfied.

Saying no to sugar has really shown me how strongly sugar impacts my well being – as a fertility expert, this has given me new insights. Your fertility relies strongly on good nutrition and choices so be encouraged to choose wisely.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

tomato and basil risotto

and as promised... another beauty! Enjoy.

another beautiful image by Hayley Blease

tomato and basil risotto

3 tomatoes
1 Lt veg stock
2 tbs oil
2 garlic cloves
1 leak trimmed and sliced
325g brown rice
handful of basil leaves
extra oil to drizzle

Cut tomatoes in half and remove the pulp. Dice and set asside.
Place stock into a saucepan and put over a low heat. In another pan, place in oil over a medium heat. Add garlic and leak and cook for a few minutes until soft. Add the rice and cook for a further minutes until coated.
Add 50-60 ml of the hot stock to the rice, stirring constantly until liquid has been absorbed. Continue doing this until all the stock is used.
Stir in the tomtatoes and basil.
Drizzle with oil and serve.

*cook brown rice partially before and freeze in fridge - in zip lock bags. When ready to use, it takes half the time to cook.

Cleansing Eats :: Coconut Dahl

I promise you with recipes this good - you won't ever feel like your missing out!

Awesomse image by Hayley Blease

Coconut Dahl

3 tbs coconut oil (or similar)
1 onions, diced.
1 deseeded green chilli chopped (optional)
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tomato chopped
225g red lentils split
250ml coconut milk
Basil leaves to serve

Heat oil in a saucepan and place over medium heat.
Add the diced onions and chilli and cook until softened.
Stur in tumeric and cumin and cook until aromatic (approx one minute)

Increase heat and add lentils, cocont milk, tomato and 750ml of water. Bring to bil and then reduce to a low simmer, stirring often. Cook for 25 - 30 minutes until lentils are soft and mushy. Season to taste.

Top with Basil and serve.

Just like I said - this is just one of many awesome recipes I'm sharing this week. This simple dahl can take the fuss out of cooking the family meal for us cleansers - just add some baked chicken and the whole tribe will be happy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

D - Day. End of Summer Body Cleanse :: Nat's pumpkin curry

Today see's the first day of the End of Summer Cleanse. If you aren't familiar with this - it is a program that I have been chatting about here on the blog, which sets you up for a week of cleaning out every corner of your body.

As promised, over the next 7 days you will see many new recipes pop up on the blog for those participating. If you aren't joining in on the cleanse - these recipes can still make their way to your table! Be inspired by health food and clean vegan eating. It might not be your cup of tea but I encourage you to step outside your comfort zone, even if only for one day to see what you and your body is capable of. Watch how your body responds. Of course initially it takes a great dose of willpower, but as each day rolls on, it gets easier and easier. By day 7 - you're in a habit of it and I can bet my last dollar that a large handful of you won't be ready to finish cleansing. Cutting out specific foods that are literally toxic to our system does wonderful things to our inner workings - and of course increase fertility considerably.

Whatever reason you have stopped by the blog today, cleansing or not, this recipe is a mighty wonderful Monday night healthy treat. You've seen it on here before - it is a beauty!

*Cleansers note - today, day 1 is the hardest as your body adjusts and 'withdraws' from sugar, caffeine and refined foods. Keep up the water - drinking one glass hourly at minimum. You may experience headaches as your body detoxifies - know it's normal and not harmful. An early night may be on the cards tonight.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Good Food Friday Treats :: Gowings' Byron love cake

This week I've asked Sam Gowling - therapeutic chef (and some) to share her current favourite recipe for Good Food Friday Treats. Treat is an understatement with this recipe, but more on that in a tick. Sam will be here in a few weeks for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival - details are at the bottom of the page. Sam knows a thing or two about the importance of good food and healthy eating. This recipe is a winner and in the week of Valentine's Day - this cake is a beauty!

"This gluten free indulgence has been such a crowd pleaser and each time it gets better and better. It's the perfect treat after a long day in the surf, or as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Baker beware! It is very, very high in sugar so please enjoy sparingly. I'll be demonstrating this at my exclusive Surf Spa Food event in the forthcoming Melbourne Food and Wine Festival on March 7th."

Gowings' Byron love cake

360 gm (3 cups) almond meal
220 gm (1 cup) raw sugar
220 gm (1 cup) brown sugar
120 gm unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250 gm Greek-style yoghurt, plus extra to serve
1 tbsp freshly grated nutmeg
45 gm (¼ cup) Pistachios

1 Preheat oven to 180C. Combine almond meal, sugars, butter and 1 tsp salt in a bowl, then rub with fingertips until coarse crumbs form. Spoon half the mixture into a lightly buttered and baking paper-lined 26cm-diameter springform pan, gently pressing to evenly cover base

2 Add egg, yoghurt and nutmeg to remaining crumble mixture and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Pour over prepared base, smooth top, scatter pistachios around edge and bake until golden (30-35 minutes.) Cool completely in pan on a wire rack to room temperature, then serve with extra yoghurt. The cake will keep in an airtight container for up to a week

Serves 8 - 10
Cooking Time Prep time 15 mins, cook 35 mins (plus cooling)

SURF SPA FOOD EVENT Monday 7th March 2011. South Melbourne Market 6.30pm.
Join me for a transformational journey into her world of Conscious Cuisine.
What: Surf Spa Food
When: 7 March
Time: 6:30PM – 8:30PM
Where: South Melbourne Market, Corner Cecil and Coventry Streets, South Melbourne
Cost: $110.00
Bookings: 02 6685 5400 / 0411 852 387
Surf Spa Food Tickets sold here:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why exactly alcohol affects your fertility

image here

In the spirit of feb fast, I want to talk more about alcohol and its effects on the body. Moderate alcohol consumption (more than two drinks per week) can reduce fertility by up to 50%.

To date, scientists have not been able to conclude as to how much alcohol is too much when it comes to affecting fertility. We know that alcohol and other drugs substantially affect normal body function. This means it poses a problem when it comes to the reproductive organs as well. The reason science hasn't been able to give us the answer as to how much is ok is because no two people are the same. Body weight, type, gender, age and metabolism all come into play when we talk the effects of alcohol - we see this purely by observation. One person may consume five drinks in 2.5 hours and not be over the driving limit of 0.05 - if that were me personally I would be snoring in a corner somewhere..

Why does alcohol affects your fertility?

Alcohol causes havoc with male hormones and alters the way testosterone is produced and released. Alcoholic beverages contain estrogen like compounds - these “fake” hormones set our real ones out of kilter. No wonder alcohol can mess up fertility! This can result in lower sperm count and poor motility - two vital elements necessary for conception. Alcohol also substantially lowers zinc absorption - this is bad news for semen. Lower zinc = less sperm = reduced chances.

It has a similar effect on women zapping hormones and affecting ovulation and menstruation - again due to these estrogen mimicking properties. (Gill, 2000; Eggert et al., 2004).

How much are we talking?

The guidelines set out by most fertility specialists are no more than two glasses per week. Some will say one glass, others will cross it off the list all together. Anything more than this is considered 'moderate' consumption. Moderate consumption has been proven to half your fertility potential.

What other effects?

There is still more. Moderate to high alcohol consumption has been linked with higher rates of miscarriage. This is again because of its affect on hormones which are necessary to support a pregnancy. Progesterone is very important in the later stage of the cycle with Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone - the two set about supporting the pregnancy. Without these, the pregnancy can not continue.

In clinical practice, I maintain there isn't one factor in sub-fertility. So many little pieces fit together to make up the puzzle for each couple. However, smoking and alcohol are two things we know that reduce health and fertility substantially. That said, I know that it is easy to become consumed by the daunting task of trying to conceive a baby. It can be very stressful. Adding a glass of wine to your table on a Saturday night may a help rather than a hinderance! On the positive side - a glass of wine with food is packed with far more nutritional benefits including anti-oxidients, than a glass of softdrink.


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