Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beating the winter blues!

The cold season means hitting the slopes, donning your ice skates, enjoying hearty meals and hot chocolates, wrapping up in beanies, scarves and cosy mittens, and curling up in front of a log fire (OK, for most of us a log fire may be out of the question but you get the picture!). That said, all of this winter goodness aside, it’s worth remembering the ‘not so fabulous’ side to the colder months – yep, we’re talking about their renowned capacity to bring us down.  We’ve all heard of SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder – but you don’t need to be diagnosed with it to suffer from the winter blues. Many of us hit a slump come winter without even realizing it.

If you feel like you could be perkier in winter, we’ve got 5 handy tips to help you go from Moping Mildred to Happy Harriet in no time:

1. Get up 15 mins before you normally do and take the time to do something for you, just you.

Make yourself a cup of tea, watch some terrible morning television, read a chapter of your book, catch up on the news, meditate,  do some stretches, or just enjoy having that extra time to get ready – a nice long shower, better applied make-up, a closer shave…  You can achieve a lot in 15 mins (yes, we know). Whatever you choose to do, it’s your time. Enjoy it!

2. Get outside in spite of the cold. 

Go for a brisk walk, get out for a coffee or warming chai, take a proper lunch break… Just a few minutes of exercise and fresh air will help get your circulation going, clear your mind and change your perspective.

3. Stick to your social engagements!

Invest in some warm clothes and a sturdy umbrella and get yourself to that dinner date, art exhibition or exercise class. Rain or shine. Winter doesn’t have to mean putting your social life on hold in favour of couch-bound hibernating.

4. Avoid the tendency to fill up on stodgy, fatty and sweet foods.

If you like stodgy, go for hearty stews, soups and curries instead. If you crave fat, get your fix with raw nuts, nut and seed butters, and healthy oils (olive and coconut). If you have a sweet tooth, make yourself a healthy hot chocolate with almond or organic milk, raw cacao, a pinch of cinnamon and a drop or two of stevia.

5. Last but definitely not least, book a holiday!

Winter is the perfect time to get away. Even if it’s just for a weekend, a change of scenery is often exactly what the doctor ordered. If you can’t afford to go far, keep it local and book a hotel somewhere an hour from home. Even a simple day trip or night away can break things up a little.

In the words of Albert Camus:

“In the midst of winter, I found there was within me, 
an invincible summer.” 

Hopefully these tips will help you to find your summer and keep smiling!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lee's divine 'Lemony Herb Crackers'

If you haven’t heard of her already, Lee Holmes is one to watch. She’s a wholefoods chef, the author of a truly amazing recipe book ‘Supercharged Food’, and an all-round inspiration. Lee is proof that you are what you eat. After discovering she had an autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia, Lee decided to heal her body with whole, natural foods and lots of green juice. We have had the pleasure of getting to know Lee and she positively radiates health. All of her recipes are gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast and sugar free. But Lee’s also a total foodie, so the dishes she makes (at midnight in her kitchen mostly) are absolutely divine. You’re in very safe hands.

So let’s get on to these lemony crackers. In Lee’s words, “they work well as a snack if you are feeling peckish in between meals – you can eat them instead of a carb or sugar-filled snack; they’re such a healthy way to refuel your body!” And to make these little beauties, all you need is 7 ingredients and 10 minutes. Let’s get cracking (no pun intended).

Here is Lee’s fabulous recipe, and a link to her video:

Lemony Herb Crackers
Makes about 35 crackers 


1 ¼ cups almond meal
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup sesame seeds
1 TBS dried mixed herbs
1 egg (opt for free range)
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon rind


1. Preheat the oven to 175°C and grease a baking tray
2. Combine the almond meal, salt, sesame seeds, mixed herbs and lemon in a bowl
3. In a small jug whisk the egg, then slowly add the olive oil while still whisking
4. Pour egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to form a firm dough. If it is too dry to roll out, mix in a little water
5. Roll the dough out on a sheet of baking paper to a thin rectangle of about 35 x 25 cm
6. Place the prepared baking tray face down over the top then invert the two together so you now have the dough on top. Peel off the baking paper
7. Using a sharp knife cut the dough into 5 cm squares
8. Bake until crisp, 12-15 minutes, turning them halfway through
9. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving
10. Keep in an airtight container for freshness


Almond meal is an excellent low-carb, high-protein option, which adds a sweet taste to the crackers
Sea salt (Lee uses celtic in her video) is a great way to balance your electrolytes (and restore your poor adrenals); it’s also packed full of minerals!
Lemon rind gives the crackers a zesty, citrusy tang, which comes from the aromatic oils and perfumes that are contained in the rind

If you like this recipe, check out Lee’s incredible new website. It just went live this morning!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The rise and fall of bread

The history of bread can be dated back at least 30,000 years – that’s a long, long time before ovens or sandwiches. Before loaves of bread, there were flat breads, round breads, bread cakes and patties – all specific to the geographic region they stemmed from.
Bread quickly became a staple of our ancestors’ diets – hence expressions such as ‘earning your bread and butter’, ‘bread winner’, ‘bread of life’ etc. Bread was on every table, from rich to working class, and those who couldn’t afford it would risk everything for a meagre loaf.

So why then have we fallen so out of love with bread? Why is it the enemy of the health conscious? The guilty pleasure we reluctantly place in the same category as dessert?

Bread in its simple form is NOT bad for you. Fact. But add flour treatment agents, chemical oxidants, emulsifiers, genetically-modified enzymes, hardened fats, refined salt and sugar (the list goes on), and bread is nowhere to be seen. It got lost somewhere in the mass of chemicals, additives, and well… cr*p! On top of this, double up quantities of yeast for faster cooking and throw pre-baked dough into the mix and you have a recipe for absolute disaster.

Real baking requires minimal ingredients and maximum effort. Preparing good quality bread takes time – the ingredients often need to work their magic (read ‘ferment’) overnight, and a true baker could be awake and baking away anywhere from 3am onwards.

When it comes to healthy bread, you really only need 5 ingredients:
1. Flour (pref wholegrain and stoneground)
2. Water (filtered if poss)
3. Yeast or sourdough culture*
The last two are optional…
4. Oil (good quality of course)
5. Salt (make it rock)

*We recommend sourdough if you suffer from bloating, candida or acne.

As with so many of the big food myths, the answer is pretty darn simple: anything can be bad for you if you don’t read the label, and don’t know what to look out for. Bread is NOT the enemy. You just need to choose the right one.

Is it time for the humble loaf to make a comeback?

Felicity Lawrence, ‘Not on the label’, Penguin, London 2004

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Time for a little coaching?

When it comes to health and wellness, we’ve got your back here at Urban Remedy. So much so, that we are taking cleansing to a whole new level to keep you healthy, well and of course happy!

Drum roll please! Introducing our brand-spanking-new...

Urban Remedy
Health Coaching Programs

What is health coaching, we hear you say? Well, we’ll let Claire answer that.

Meet Claire Obeid, our very own Resident Health Coach, who just happens to be a little bit (okay, a lot) keen on health and wellness:

“Health Coaching is a fantastic opportunity to work one-on-one with a knowledgeable (certified and trained) advisor who will provide you with the support, guidance and information to set health and wellness goals, but also help you achieve them in a sustainable way!

Think about this. Have you ever wanted to change something in your life – your relationship with food, your fitness level, your overall happiness, your lifestyle habits – but you didn’t know where to start, how to make it happen, or even what change really looks like?

That’s where a Health Coach can help. Our delicious and nutritious (if we do say so) cleanses are an amazing way to kick-start new healthy habits, but sometimes we need a little push and shove to stay on track and build the healthy habit momentum. 

Claire will devise a personalised program – based on your needs and where you are at on your own wellness journey – that will radically improve your health, wellness and happiness. If you’re not ready to launch into a full blown program, Claire can start you off with an individual session and you can take it from there, no strings attached.

Want better skin? More energy? Less stress? Would you like to feel balanced? Learn how to cook? Understand your body? Be aware?

Do we hear a YES? Well then, get in touch. If you would like to check out our individual sessions and health coaching packages, or just want a little more info, it’s all here.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Let’s keep it simple. Let’s get back to basics.

We were talking about what we like at the Urban Remedy HQ today. We like: green juice, warming soups, yummy smoothies (no surprises here)… and... well, we’re all a little bit methodical and organised (read geeky) so we also really like lists. When it came to discussing what we don’t like, we were pretty unanimous: we don’t like over-complicating things. And that definitely applies to the world of health.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of the latest fad or to feel overwhelmed by the multitude of nutritional choices and suggestions out there. Breathe. It’s okay. You probably know a lot more than you realise. When it comes to living well and being healthy, we like to believe that you know best. You just have to tune into your body and get back to the basics.

To help you do so, we’ve compiled a list of super simple guidelines to living well. We’re guessing you know it all already but that’s kind of the point. Sometimes it’s good to remember that it’s not rocket science, that we already have all the information we need to be healthy and happy.

And because we’re total list junkies, here’s... well, a list of...

10 simple health rules:

1.      Always eat breakkie – king. of. meals.
2.      Drink more water – nope, not 2 litres all at once… sip it, slowly
3.      Know your food – make your own or find out what’s in the stuff you buy!
4.      Read the label – look out for trans-fats, sugar and nasty additives
5.      Keep moving – if you can’t do a workout, get your walk or stretch on
6.      Get enough sleep –  6 hours min… find a routine that works for you
7.      Identify your cravings – better yet, find a healthy way to enjoy them
8.      Reduce your stress levels – ask yourself: will worrying change anything?
9.      Listen to your body – are you hungry, thirsty, in need of some TLC?
10.    Take the time to eat – food is there to enjoy!

You’re the boss. Tune into your awesomeness.