A Rainy Rainforest Getaway

Food, Lifestyle, missjessamy, Travel

This past weekend, my family surprised my Dad with a weekend away to the Tamborine Mountains to celebrate his birthday. 

It rained ALL WEEKEND which we were not mad about at all because a) Queensland really needs the rain and b) this rainforest area turns into the cosiest and more beautiful area when it rains. So we still had a really lovely time. 

Even though the weather limited our activities of going out and about on walks and exploring the town, it was really nice just to have some downtime and cuddle up inside and enjoy warm drinks, wine and yummy food. 

So, here’s my breakdown of this weekend covering where we stayed, what we ate and what we did. Enjoy!

Accommodation: Songbirds Rainforest Retreat

We stayed in the Villa at Songbirds Rainforest Retreat, which was a fully self-contained house with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a spacious living area, kitchen and balcony. 

The only downside to this accommodation was that there was the need for some general maintenance in the house including shower nozzle and sink deep cleans and locks on the screen doors leading to the balcony. 

These issues were nothing major at all, and the end of the day may have led to making the experience more quaint and homey. However, to take this accommodation to the next level, this maintenance is needed. 

Gallery Walk offers a super quaint and cosy selection of cafes and local stores selling homemade/locally produced produce including fudge, honey, candles, Cuckoo Clocks, the lists goes on. 

We dined at two places along Gallery Walk, both for our Saturday and Sunday breakfasts. 

Songbirds’ restaurant is not open for breakfast, so unless you choose to have the breakfast basket delivered to your accommodation, you will have to venture out. 

Saturday Breakfast: The Treehouse

This cafe was very cosy and their menu offered a great mix of sweet and savoury breakfast options, including some very unique and delicious gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options. 

I got the ‘bucket size’ turmeric latte on almond milk, and it was the perfect spicy drink to find comfort in on this rainy Saturday. This latte was definitely heavier on the turmeric side of things, which I LOVED! But the cafe supplied honey you could mix in to sweeten it up if you like. 

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I was most impressed with the gluten-free and dairy-free french toast this cafe offered. My mum ordered this dish, and I totally forgot to snap a picture of it- but trust me, it was DELICIOUS! And I would order it if I returned to the cafe without a doubt. 

However, I ordered the Vegan Breaky with added vegan cheese, and this was so yummy. A super comforting meal that was filling and full of flavour. It featured a tomato, onion and bean mixture with avocado, mushrooms, spinach and gluten-free bread. It was super yummy and was the perfect cosy breakfast choice in the rainy weather. 

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My Dad went for the salmon eggs Benedict, and my sister opted for the classic eggs and bacon on sourdough toast; both reporting back that their dishes were super tasty. 

All round, this cafe was a winner and I would 100% go back and would also recommend it all Mount Tamborine visitors. 

Saturday Activity: Songbirds Wine Tasting 

As part of the gift for my Dad, we set up to have an afternoon wine tasting onsite at Songbirds. This was a fantastic afternoon that exposed us to a variety of delicious local and international wines. 

The staff were very well educated and took the time to offer as much information as possible about each wine and tell us its full history; which was very interesting and enhanced the wine tasting experience. 

The only downside of this tasting was the variety offered on the charcuterie board. For the number of wines we tasted (10), a small amount of cured meats, a few pieces of dried peach and pickle and some bread was all that was offered. 

However, the overall experience was lovely, and the wines we tasted were all so varied, and most of them were delicious. The staff took the time to select wines my Dad would like but also offered us some that were unique, which was really lovely.

I would highly recommend this experience; it was a lot of fun and a great gift idea for any wine lover in your life. 

Saturday Dinner: Songbirds Restaurant 

For dinner, we booked the restaurant located onsite at Songbirds. The set-out and overall vibe of this restaurant was beautiful and very cosy. However, in my opinion, this restaurant was overpriced for the quality and complexity of the meals.

My mum and I ordered a chicken, coconut and pumpkin dish and it was extremely basic with not much going on at all. The portion size was enough for us without an entree, but for others, I would say it would be too small and I think some added vegetables would be great. 

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Also, this restaurant does not offer ANY side dishes, which is something that would have helped bulk out the meals and probably made me like my dish more because I could’ve added in some salad. 

On the other hand, my Dad and sister ordered the steak, which was pricey but it was a generous serving when compared to the chicken dish and was ultimately worth the money. 

We did not have dessert at this restaurant because we had brought along a birthday cake for my Dad and it was back in the room. However, across the board, the selection on their menu was minimal and slightly disappointing. See their menu here.

Although the food was nice, it was not overly exciting and it was overpriced, leading me to say that I would not go back to this restaurant. 

Sunday Breakfast: Wild Plum Kitchen

On Sunday morning we headed to this great cafe with many gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan food and drink options.

Another day, another big ole’ turmeric latte. This latte was one of the most unique ones I have ever had due to the kick of spice that was mixed in. I am assuming there was some kind of cayenne pepper in the mixture and it was delicious.

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My mango smoothie bowl was simple but delicious. Being made on frozen mango and banana and simply topped with nut-free granola and coconut chips, this was a fresh and light breakfast that was super yummy and tasted like mango sorbet. 

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My sister got the sourdough french toast with bacon and maple syrup, my Dad got the Croque Monsieur, and my mum got a mushroom dish that came with feta, pumpkin hummus, dukkah and gluten-free bread. All reporting back that they thoroughly enjoyed their meals!

The coffee here was grea with the coffee art and milk texture being 10/10. 

Both of the cafes I have mentioned (The Treehouse and Wild Plum Kitchen) are located at the top of Gallery Walk directly across the road from each other. They both offer a varied and delicious menu with options for most dietary requirements or food cravings. 

If you are looking the ultimate weekend getaway destination that takes you away from the hustle and bustle, then Mount Tamborine is a great option. Everyone was so lovely and the surroundings were stunning and tranquil. Overall, we had a great weekend getaway celebrating my fantastic father’s birthday <3. 

If you want to find out more about Mount Tamborine, check it out on Visit Tamborine MountainThis is not a sponsored or affiliated post, all opinions are my own. 

 

My Japan Travel Diaries 

Food, missjessamy, Travel

I went to Japan twice in 2019, and I would have never expected it to become one of my favourite travel destinations! The atmosphere, look, feel, food and people all create a place that I truly fell in love with.

So, having visited this location twice last year, I thought I would accumulate the information and experiences I had on each of my trips and showcase my Japan travel guide (of sorts) to help you see why it is a MUST VISIT destination.

My Two Trip Summary: 

So firstly, why did I go twice?

Well, a Christmas/New Year’s family holiday was on the cards since the beginning of 2019. And then in March four of my friends and I decided to book a two-week-long trip during July, as flights were super cheap and we were all free (which is very rare).

During my July holiday, we remained in Tokyo and stayed a week in Shinjuku and a week in Akasaka.

Where as, for my December trip my family and I stayed in Ginza (Toyko), Hiroshima, Kyoto and then we went back to Tokyo where we stayed in Tokyo Bay for three days to visit Disney.

What amazed me about visiting Japan twice in one year was how different both of my trips were when I visited the same locations in Toyko. The most significant difference that I noticed between my two trips was the busyness of Tokyo.

Firstly, and sort of obviously, Tokyo was INSANE during Christmas and New Year’s. However, coming from Australia, Christmas is a public holiday for us, and it is a MASSIVE holiday celebration. However, we were super shocked to find that people went to work on Christmas Day and not only that, but, other than retail marketing and advertising there was nowhere near the presence of Christmas as there is back home.

However, this flipped when it came to New Year’s. Back home, New Year’s means a big party and fireworks show at midnight, and that is it. However, in Japan we found out it is a BIG deal. We were lucky enough to celebrate our introduction to 2020 at Disneyland, where we watched the midnight fireworks burst from the magical castle at midnight.

This was a great experience but having visited both Disneyland and Disney Sea during my July trip, I was shocked to see the massive increase in guests at the park over December and January. Now, we expected the festive season would bring extra guests to the parks. But boy, we did not expect it to be THIS busy!!

Having visited Disneyland in LA and Hong Kong and DisneyWorld multiple times, we thought we had seen a crowd, but we were wrong.

This is definitely something to be aware of if you are visiting during the festive season, especially if you are only going for one day. This is because it is tough to fit everything in one day with the crowds.However, crowd control (as always when it comes to Disney) was managed well. Also, with most of the rides having engaging lineups, it was not all doom and gloom; it was just time-consuming.

My Must Dos: 

1- Shibuya: 

Lights, sound, people, food and fun; what more could you want? Since my first visit to Shibuya, I was hooked. It is genuinely an absolute hub for full Tokyo immersion. The bright shop lights and billboards paired with soundtracks being played through the streets and the photo booth and game stores’ hustle and bustle spilling onto the street makes this place is unforgettable.

Tip: Don’t miss exploring the side streets to find some fantastic and unique meals. My favourite place to grab a yummy meal is at this Gluten-Free ramen restaurant where you order your meal on a kiosk before taking a seat.

Shibuya is so much fun and you definitely need to go more than once. Just be aware that it is push and shove, but it is worth it for the atmosphere and experience.

2- Yoyogi Park 

Pure magic in nature.

I visited this park during both of my trips and each time it was magical, calming and just so serene. Not only is the greenery so lush, but all you can hear it the crunch of rocks under your feet and you can smell and feel the crisp fresh air. This park is a great way to take yourself out of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo without having to go too far.

3- Studio Ghibli Museum 

Fan of Ghibli or not, this is a must-do (just make sure your pre-book your tickets well in advance)! The architecture at this museum is breathtaking and magical; you really do step straight into a Ghibli film.

Walking up the winding staircase, squeezing through the tiny doorways or adventuring to see the massive Castle In The Sky Robot on the rooftop; this place is a playground for people of all ages.

One of the most amazing parts about this museum is the tiny detail hiding on every  wall and floorboard. You have to keep your eyes peeled because character appearances and movie references are around every corner.

Tip: Make sure you visit one of the cinema sessions while you’re there! Although the two films were in Japanese, the visuals themselves make the film-watching experience worthwhile.

Also, note that the Museum address is 1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0013, Japan. We almost went to TWO of the wrong addresses before departing for the day.

4- Disneyland & DisneySea

The reason I added this one onto my top three is because a) it’s Disney, so it’s an OBVIOUS must do! But also, both of these parks are genuinely immaculate and so much fun. I didn’t think the architecture of a theme park could blow me away, but DisneySea did that! It is a STUNNING park that genuinely takes you to another world. The rides, food and just general parks are an unmissable experience for people of all ages.

5- Deer Island (Miyajima)

As long as you are happy to deal with beautiful Deer stalking you around the island and trying to eat your jacket, this island is truly unmissable.

Visiting this island exposes you everything Japan has to offer; culture, shrines, temples, markets, food and overall serene and stunning nature. So, make sure during your Hiroshima visit you put some time aside to hop on the ferry and visit this island.

Time Saver Tips:

Harajuku: 

This is a bit of an unpopular opinion but if you are pressed for time, you can probably skip Harajuku or keep your time there to a walk down Takeshita Street.

I found Harajuku to be overrated when it was compared to other nearby locations like Shibuya or Shinjuku; even the crazy rainbow foods were available in other Tokyo areas.

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Team Lab Borderless: 

You probably already know what this place is because it is in everyones Japan social media content. And do not get me wrong, I really enjoyed visiting this display with my friends during my July trip. However, it is extremely overstimulating and is something that was not very different to the photos I had seen online. I do not mean to sound negative about this place, because it is still stunning. But, if you are short on time, this can be missed.

Shimokitazawa:

If you love vintage shopping then this is the place for you. But buyer be warned, vintage shopping in Japan is SUPER expensive and it is very easy to be sucked down the ‘I should just get it because I am travelling’ mentality and end up spending $50+ on a casual printed t-shirt. So, if you are on a budget please be wary when visiting or give it a miss all together if your schedule is tight. That being said, I still enjoyed my visit here. Even though I didn’t buy anything, the vibe and overall experience was super enjoyable.

Food Allergies in Japan:

The only challenge that I encountered during both my trips was correctly communicating my dietary requirements and finding food on the go that I could eat.

I am gluten and dairy intolerant and my Mum is a coeliac. So, I did have some  leniency with my diet. However, when travelling with my Mum, it was essential we found appropriate food.

Unfortunately, after eating on the go and at multiple buffets, my mother and I can say that we consumed gluten due to difficulty communicating with staff about our needs. However, do not let this turn you off visiting this great destination. Even though it is not extremely easy to find dietary friendly options in Japan, there are still choices, you just have to dig around.

My number one recommendation would be to ensure you have Google Translate on your phone. This will allow you to scan packages to see if they contain the allergen you need to avoid. This app is a MUST if you do not speak your destination’s language and it saved us many times throughout the trip.

Secondly, Family Mart and 7-Eleven provide more snacks than you could ever imagine, and there are gluten and dairy-free options here. Sushi, edamame, salads, mochi, fruits, bars, milk alternatives and more are all available at these convenience shops and acted as lifesavers when we found ourselves in a food pinch. Also, these stores are quite literally on every street corner, so you can always get at least a small snack.

If you’re looking for something more substantial though, check out these places where I ate and had NO problem obtaining gluten and dairy free meals. All of the listed places had delicious food and fantastic service:

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Me with the best GF bread from Sodoh

We had breakfast included at all our hotels during our Christmas trip, and we found that most locations had allergens marked on the food labels which was a great help!

When these labels were not available, or we were in a restaurant, we used THESE cards. Having these cards enabled us to communicate our allergies to staff, and they were then able to disclose whether or not we would be able to eat there. Having pre-organised most of our eating arrangements/ eating out of convenience stores a fair bit, we mainly used these cards while we visited Disneyland and DisneySea.

Finally, we also packed multiple gluten and dairy-free snacks as backups in our bags that we were able to have when allergen-friendly food was inaccessible. We also packed some gluten-free bread that enabled us to bulk up some meals we would order through room service, as well.

Where I Stayed & Ratings: 

July Trip: 

Super Hotel Shinjuku Kabukicho 

Location: Shinjuku

Rating: 4 Stars 

Comments: Due to our late check-in, pillows were ‘sold out’ which resulted in our first night being a very uncomfortable sleeping experience on hard bean pillows. However, staff were incredibly kind and helpful with them providing directions and tips on local places to eat and explore.

This hotel is central in Shinjuku with many bars and convenience stores nearby. Also, Shinjuku station less than 10 min walk away.

Henn na Hotel Tokyo Akasaka

Location: Akasaka

Rating: 3.5 Stars 

Comments: Robot concierge were a great novelty but they struggled to read international passports which made our check-in difficult; resulting in the staff needing to come out and assist us.

The room was very lovely, but super small – so be mindful of large suitcases.

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December – January Trip: 

Tokyo Imperial Hotel 

Location: Ginza (Toyko)

Rating: 5 Stars

Comments: Impeccable service on all levels. From their check-in to bell boys, shops and food service staff. Rooms are well sized. I highly recommend the French restaurant on site. Central location in Ginza but still far enough from the mid-city craziness. Super close to Hibiya station and only a 5-minute walk from Ginza station.

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Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel

Location: Hiroshima

Rating: 4 Stars 

Comments: Great gym facilities and location is right near Eki City and a FamilyMart for all your food needs. Staff were very accommodating; however, the entrance to the hotel is slightly confusing.

Allergens at the buffet were marked.

Hotel Okura Kyoto

Location: Kyoto

Rating: 4.5 Stars 

Comments: Dinner buffet was a fantastic mix of western and Japanese cuisine. Also, the view of the river from the hotel is stunning both day and night. Customer service was fantastic, and we felt very welcomed.

Allergens at the buffet were marked.

Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel

Location: Tokyo Bay (Disneyland)

Rating: 4 Stars 

Comments: Great Disney flare even though it is not a specific Disney hotel. Fantastic dinner and breakfast buffet along with lots of amenities on site. However, due to the busy time of year and the language barrier, our check-in process was long and confusing. However, after this, the staff were very kind and helpful.

Allergens at the buffet were marked.

So, Would I Go Back?:

To me, Japan is a place I could continue to visit regularly. Despite having spent a total of 4 weeks there in 2019 during two seasons, there are still SO many places I have not visited yet. I would love to go during Cherry Blossom season, and next time I would love to travel further out of Tokyo city and spend more time in traditional Japanese locations.

However, I think every time you go, dropping into Tokyo is a must! The atmosphere is unparalleled to anywhere else in the world. But that doesn’t mean you should skimp on visiting the more traditional and natural areas found in Kyoto, for example.

With tourism to Japan continually growing and airline sales happening more and more frequently, if you have been thinking about visiting Japan or want a holiday destination idea, then this place is for you!

Have you been to Japan? If so, what was your favourite place?

Check out more of my Japan highlights on my Instagram @jessicatathem

The Health Food Powders You Need In Your Pantry.

Food, missjessamy

I am a health food addict, I can easily spend over an hour in any health food shop just reading all the ingredients and powders to find out what is good for me and the benefits food can give my body. For me, healthy eating is so important, because it makes me feel good and confident; also it tastes really good.
So today I have compiled a list of some of my favourite health food powders that I feel make a difference to my everyday life. I have done some research into these to offer you key information on what these powders are all about. However, PLEASE do your own research if you want to introduce them to your diet, as I am not a healthcare professional.*

Raw Cacao Powder

I love Cacao and have used the powder for many years in baking, smoothies and as a base to warm drinks. Apart from its raw chocolaty taste, it has been proven to be a mood improver due to containing anandamide which brings on feelings of euphoria. It also has a very high ORAC score which shows it has high antioxidant levels. Antioxidants are integral to our health as they increase our immunity to colds and flu, improve digestion, energy and sleep as well as improve circulation (which promotes the reduction of inflammation and cellulite).
Cacao also contains calcium, iron, zinc and potassium; cacao also contains Magnesium which helps with the absorption of calcium. It also assists with an increased metabolism which helps with weight loss and increased digestion leading to overall elevated energy levels.

Calcium

As touched on above, calcium is essential for our body’s health. At the core, it helps build strong bones! To have strong bones is so important, especially as we age as it reduces the risks of both arthritis and osteoporosis. Having strong bones also helps reduce back pain and allows us to live a life of free movement and activity (we all want to be strong and stable!). Calcium is something I am passionate about because I am deficient, so I am focused on rebuilding my calcium levels so I can be strong and healthy. There has also been a lot of research that has shown calcium plays a role in controlling or preventing high blood pressure.
So if you are allergic to dairy, vegan or are concerned about your calcium levels, calcium powder is such an important additive to your diet. The one I use is Green Nutritionals Pure Plant Source Green Calcium, and it is tasteless, so I put it in anything and everything I can think of including, smoothies, oats, hot chocolates, soups etc.

Pea Protein

I use Pea Protein because I’m allergic to dairy so Whey Protein isn’t an option. I use Tropekas’ Lean Protein in Vanilla. This protein and other high-quality Pea Proteins help build lean muscle and assist with toning and muscle recovery. So it is ideal to have post workout to help feed your body the nutrients it needs to build and repair muscle, so you get the most out of your workout. Protein is also renowned for keeping you fuller for longer meaning satisfied cravings and hunger. Additionally, multiple sources of research have discovered that Pea Protein offers a similar protein source that eggs supply; making it a great, healthy and easily digestible protein alternative.

Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is probably my least favourite out of all of the health powders in my life due to the taste. But the benefits it offers forces me to look past this, and once I mix it into a smoothie, the taste almost disappears. To begin, Wheatgrass is high in Chlorophyll which helps cleanse, alkalise and improve energy levels. Chlorophyll also acts as an antibacterial in the body making it a natural healer. Wheatgrass also contains an extremely wide variety of vitamins and is rich in proteins containing amino acids. Additionally, the Chlorophyll property in Wheatgrass helps with neutralising body odours and controlling blood sugar levels. And with its detoxifying properties, Wheatgrass can help with increased energy levels, weight loss, improved digestion and improved circulation.

Baobab Powder

Baobab Powder is my newest discovery out of all the powders in this article, but I am thrilled I have discovered it as it has so many health properties. To begin, it is high in Vitamin C, which promotes healthy skin, increased immune function and energy levels. It also assists with the absorption of iron and contains Prebiotics that assist with healthy digestion and promotes gut health. I use Green Nutritionals Organic African Baobab.

I use all of the above in my daily smoothies and sprinkle them on top of granola or coconut yoghurt. Despite my research and experience with these powders, it is essential to use and consume what feels right for you and your body. It is so important to do your own research because I am not a healthcare professional and you must ensure you are eating what’s right for you.*

Talk Soon,
Jess xx

* all research and information in this post has been done by myself and I have incorporated these foods into my diet accordingly. Please ensure you read your own articles before introducing these into your daily routine. 

Healthy Breakfast Pancake Muffins 

Food, Health & Fitness, missjessamy, Recipes

Meet the new perfect edition to your morning routine. Everything amazing about a blueberry and banana pancake; cooked into deliciously moist and filling muffins (easy to take on the go)! Have one for breakfast, or pack as a ‘pick me up’ snack during your busy day. These muffins are so tasty, and by being GF, DF and RSF they are sure to please everyone. img_5181.jpg

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 large Banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup Chia Seeds
  • ½ cup Almond Meal
  • 1 tbl Vanilla Protein Powder
  • ¼ cup Almond Milk
  • ¾ cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ teaspoon Bicarb Soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • *optional* Granola (top sprinkle on top)

Makes approx.  12 muffins FullSizeRender

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Mash banana until smooth in bowl
  3. Add in remaining wet ingredients and mix until all combined
  4. Add in almond meal- mix while adding to avoid clumping
  5. Add in chia seeds, protein powder, bicarb and baking powder, combine all ingredients.
  6. Sprinkle in blueberries, avoid mixing too much to avoid colour mixing of the blueberries and mixture.
  7. Evenly distribute into muffin pan
  8. Sprinkle granola on top before cooking
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes, watch to avoid top burning.
  10. Allow to completely cool and store in the fridge, in an airtight container.

Easter Fudge Brownies – DF & GF

Food, missjessamy, Recipes

This recipe makes quite a large brownie, comfortably filling a 23x33cm baking pan. But feel free to half all the ingredients for a smaller batch.

*note: Dairy Milk eggs are not DF! They are just for decoration and a treat for the rest of my family*IMG_4282.jpg

Ingredients:

2 cups gluten-free self-raising flour
4 eggs
300g Nuttalex (if you don’t require DF, you can use butter)
1 cup cacao powder
¾ Lindt dessert 70% chocolate melted
¼ (remaining) Lindt dessert 70% chocolate roughly chopped
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup honey

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
2. Prepare double boiler for melting chocolate. Break up Lindt dessert chocolate and melt until runny consistently is formed, continually mix and watch
3. Combine all dry ingredients, sifting flour and cacao if needed. Don’t add chopped chocolate yet
4. Melt Nuttelex and add into dry ingredients, mix thoroughly
5. Add remaining wet ingredients, mix melted chocolate through BEFORE adding eggs
6. Mix in chopped chocolate, leaving enough to sprinkle on top of brownie
7. Mix ingredients thoroughly together
8. Line baking tray with baking paper and pour in mixture
9. Sprinkle remaining chocolate over the top of brownie
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on the amount of ‘fudgyness’ you like. Allow to completely cool before cutting. Serve with whipped coconut cream.

Enjoy and I hope you have an amazing Easter.

Love, Jess xx

Having A Dairy Free Easter

Food, missjessamy

I can’t believe that Easter is upon us in under a week, where is this year going? But if you’re vegan, don’t like dairy, lactose intolerant or like me and allergic to all dairy, Easter isn’t the most exciting time of year when it comes to the chocolate gifts. But I’ve got you covered this year! Thankfully over the past years, more and more companies have chocolate products that are vegan, dairy-free and refined sugar-free or reduced.I’ve gone around to multiple local health food shops and sourced some of the best Easter goodies for you to give as gifts or get yourself for this holiday.

I have narrowed my selection down to four main brands that proving these dairy free goods.

Loving Earth is an amazing that believe the world is a living organism. Their company’s central principles are about providing goods that are Healthy, Sustainable and Fair. And their range includes sweet and savoury products.

This chocolate is to die for. My personal favourite is Mint Dark Chocolate, but honestly, you are safe with any of their products, absolutely delectable. I have brought one of their gift packs as an Easter gift to share with my family this year, which includes their Mint Chocolate block as well as the plain Milk and Dark blocks. And if you’re not a fan of the general chocolate taste, they even have caramel chocolate. As well as providing chocolate block alternatives with their chocolate covered goji berries and nuts. And if you’re after a chocolatey hit for your Easter breakfast, they even have chocolate spreads with Hazelnut and Chocolate spreads. Along with drinking chocolate mix to warm up on the cool Easter morning her in Australia.

MooFree is another great brand for all things dairy-free and is a product that is angled towards kids, with their playful packaging. In stock this year, they have three different flavours, plain chocolate, ‘bunnycomb’ and orange.

This company is great as they angle these health foods towards a much younger market, making their treats appealing to young kids.Making kids with allergies or alternative diet choices to still feel included in the fun of Easter.

Alpha is a new brand to me, something I only spotted in a health food shop a couple of weeks ago and I was impressed with their range. I have not yet tried their products, but have read rave reviews online. They have a variety of mini chocolate eggs and large foiled hollow eggs, providing the oldies but the goodies for your Easter chocolate needs.

If your looking for an alternative chocolate treat this Easter, The Carob Kitchen is an Australian company that’s got your covered. If you’re not sure what the difference between cacao and carob is, here’s a quick breakdown. Carob is a chocolate substitute, and it comes from a carob pod which has a similar appearance to cacao. Carob is packed full of vitamins A and B, protein, potassium, calcium and iron; naturally dairy free.Carob has a sweeter taste to raw cacao, but it doesn’t contain that rich chocolate flavour cacao does. But carob is a great tasting treat, giving your taste buds a break from the chocolate overload.

This Easter, not only does The Carob Kitchen have their regular chocolate bars available, with different taste varieties, they have their foiled hollow eggs and mini eggs. Super yummy and a twist on classic Easter treats.

Let me know if you have any other dairy free chocolate brands you love to include in your Easter basket!

Love, Jess x

The Paleo Effect

Food, Health & Fitness, missjessamy

Hello Everybody, As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have really tried to eat more healthily. It came to my attention that, what I was eating was making me break out and feel sluggish. This change in lifestyle has been unbelievably beneficial for me even though it is such a simplistic concept. What is this concept you ask? I call it, The Paleo Effect. Paleo meaning older or ancient as in Palaeolithic. In diet terms, the way in which the caveman ate. 

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I chose this lifestyle as an experiment, wondering if it would change me in any way, and boy did it.

Previously to this wondrous change in lifestyle, I never ate particularly unhealthily, but there were common times I didn’t think before I ate, and therefore commonly ate the wrong things. And, by changing from that to all health food, I was skeptical as to whether it would be an easy change or if I would struggle to not turn to the ‘bad stuff’. SIDE NOTE: I don’t like calling it a diet, because I think eating healthy is a lifestyle change more than anything.

Amazingly, I have honestly noticed such a change. I have been on this lifestyle change for 13ish weeks, and my energy levels have skyrocketed and may I add, my skin is clearer and the redness has massively decreased. As I said before, my energy has increased, which helps in my motivation going through school with doing my work and everything else. I have also noticed a mood change. I have been happier within myself, and therefore happier when around others. However, as any lifestyle change, there are always slip ups. I personally, don’t care if I have a few slip ups. I am not going to rid myself of the occasional ‘unhealthy’ meal because of my healthy eating regime. I don’t believe in starving myself of life’s delicious and unhealthy foods just to be healthy forever; I find it impossible to live like that. Honestly, I do have the EXTREMELY occasional McDonalds with my friends or home cooked brownies cooked by my sister (etc…) because I enjoy them. I have stages where I am fully Paleo, and other times where I am loosely on the lifestyle. And personally, I think that is fine. I’m a teenager, and admit I go to the movies with my friends and eat bags of Chocolate and Chips. Also, some nights I’ll come home after a long day and eat rubbish. However, overall I commit to the Paleo regime in my common everyday life and within my meals and most snacks.

I am a strong believer in what I put in my body, will show on the outside. And that is why I want to commit to a healthy lifestyle now, so I can get the life long benefits. Wow, what a both reflective and somewhat informative post (hopefully…hehe). If you aren’t interested in the Paleo Effect but you still what to be healthy then go for it. I agree Paleo is somewhat of an intense and sometimes pricey change, but you can just change from maybe a white bread sandwich at lunch to a salad. Any healthy change can be beneficial to you.

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post. I know this was a bit of a different post to what I normally have on my blog, but I really wanted to share my experiences with all of you and I hoped you liked hearing them.

Love, Jess xx

I am not a doctor and all experiences are my own. All opinions are my own.

Picture Link: http://www.tumblr.com/search/tropical%20fruit%20salad

Dairy No More..?

Food, Health & Fitness, missjessamy

Hello Everybody,

Recently, I have been absolutely flat out with exams and assingments- so my diet hasn’t been great. However, I recently made a change that I think has really benefited me and that is, cutting our dairy (mainly milk) from my diet.

Personally, I don’t like milk. The only time I would ever drink it was if if was in tea or a Starbucks Frappuccino. I do not like the flavour on its own. A few months ago, I made the switch to Almond Milk- which I really like. As Almonds are one of my favourite foods, the transition was issue-less. So I thought… It turned out that I actually drank a lot more milk then I thought I did. I’d simply forgotten that in these colder months here in Oz, it doesn’t take much to heat up a glass of full cream milk and add some hot chocolate powder in it for a nice toasty drink. But for some reason, whether it be the health benefits or just because I didn’t like normal milk on its own, I real wanted to make a permanent change to this Almond Milk, which I had come to like so much.

If you don’t know or guess. Almond Milk does have a flavour to it, and does flavour what ever it is mixed or put into e.g Smoothies or Hot Chocolates.

Anyways, over the next couple of weeks, I decided to start making a change to replace the drinks I had, that contained full cream milk to now contain almond milk. I started adding it to my smoothies for my breakfast, my hot chocolate or warmed milk with cinnamon at night and honestly, I have noticed a big change. Not only am I less bloated and no more left with a heavy feeling after drinking tea or hot chocolate, my blemishes and redness on my face have decreased dramatically. Now, I will be honest with you all, I didn’t/don’t have badly blemished skin. I am quite lucky in the fact that I only get a few. But still they are a major self-confidence issue for me. Also, I am very pale, so I have lots of redness on my face 24/7. Almond Milk though, has really helped these issues.

Now, if you are reading this and are still sceptical, my best friend (fatlittlefiat.wordpress.com)has had the same results- only better then mine. From her most recent post, ‘Vegan Is Fab’ she comments on the benefits her non dairy life has given her, “Mum assumed it (dairy products) was making my skin bad and I always felt sick after having it so I just gave it up. Now, it’s almond milk in smoothies, coconut based yoghurt and ice-cream and no cheese.” Head over to her blog to read the full post! I can say her skin is amazing now, since coming off dairy.

I’m not saying that everyone in the world, that has blemishes, should come off dairy. I am just saying that if has worked for both myself and my best friend. And, if you are concerned for your skin or find you feel yuck are having milk or any dairy product, I would say give it a go. Remember, I am no doctor or expert, I am just telling you my experiences with the change of dairy consumption.

Talk Soon
Jess xx