13 June 2014

This blog is out and the new blog is in!

Since we started using Google Blogger we've had a hard time of it. It's temperamental and just plain annoying.

So we've decided to switch over to Wordpress and the new link is ready!


We'll keep this Blogger blog happening while we slowly move all the posts over to the new one. But head over to the new one, Follow, and enjoy the niceness that is the new, prettier and less moody blog!!

-Clint & Aimee

4 June 2014

The Buddina Community Gardens and one of it's stars!

We're lucky here on the Sunshine Coast to have a heap of community gardens dotted across the region. So if you live locally, want to have a garden but aren't able to grow one at home, or you simply want to learn from and interact with other local gardeners.. then renting a plot at your local community garden may be just the ticket!

As you may already know, we host the Sunshine Coast Paleo/Primal/Real Food Meetup Group and one of our members mentioned she volunteers at the Buddina Community Garden! 

Monika Sprott organises events at the gardens and is a keen paleo-follower who's had an incredible health journey. We're holding our next meetup at the gardens this Saturday so we thought it'd be a great time to blog about that and let Monika tell her inspirational and interesting story!

I sat down with Mon recently and here's the chat we had...

Aimee: So what's been your health journey so far Mon?

Monika: In November 2012 I went into surgery to remove an enlarged lymph node on my neck. Just as I was about to go in the surgeon told me there was more than 1 lump so it was probably lymphoma. In that moment I knew that all the things I had learned, heard and read about Health were going to come into effect when I woke up.

For me, I had been eating unhealthily for years thinking that I could get away with it.

As I healed after the operation a good friend, with more knowledge than I, gave me a list of things to do. The first one being to cut out sugar, which I did. I initially followed the “I Quit Sugar” plan (all sugar initially, including natural ones like fruit and honey) and this helped me immensely to change my eating habits. For me because I had a strong reason to do it, it was easy.

The tests for cancer came back inconclusive; it was something (probably mutated cells that would have become cancerous but were not yet so.)

Three months later I went back in to surgery to remove the lump as they do not remove cancerous lymph nodes and it was still there.

One of the other things that my friend suggested was also to walk more. 

Aimee: Wow that's so interesting! Good on you for making such positive changes to your health!

How long have you been at the gardens for? What is your role there?

Monika: Four days after my surgery on a walk with a friend I discovered the Buddina Community Garden. I had not really been interested in gardening but it made sense to get a garden bed to grow my own food healthy food within walking distance from home, but not at home so that I would have to walk to attend to my garden.

Initially my focus at the garden was just to grow food for myself and not get involved in the social side. My gardening and health learning curve was steep. Every day I was learning new things, whether it was how to manage pests, grow tomatoes to the healing properties of food, ie. using food as medicine.

Now at the garden my role is as workshop/event coordinator and vice president but primarily I still love to just garden, talk to my growing food and marvel at the fact that from tiny seeds we can produce so much nutrition.

Aimee: What do you enjoy most about being involved at the gardens? 

Monika: It didn’t take long to start to get more involved in the communal aspect of gardening, I love dealing with people and learning and teaching (I was a primary school teacher years ago).

I now want to share with people the magic of growing your own food. I use the word "magic" because it truly is wonderful to watch something grow from a seed, harvest, prepare and eat it, it just feels right!

Aimee: That's terrific! Sounds like you're an asset to the garden for sure!

What exciting things are happening at the gardens now and into the future?

Monika: We have commenced holding workshops at the garden and have already held one successful workshop with Cath Manuel from Soil to Supper on “Growing Healthy Gardens”, giving the fundamentals of gardening, beginning with having healthy living soil.

On the 7th June you and Clint from Primal Influence and the paleo meetup group will be holding a meetup at the Buddina Community Garden which will be an excellent opportunity for people to come along and learn more about Paleo/Primal eating and to see the gardens and how they work in so well with a primal lifestyle.

There are some more very exciting developments currently being discussed that I cannot release yet but follow our Facebook page - you will be able to keep in touch with what is happening at the garden, get gardening hints and be inspired by the food we are growing.

Aimee: We're really looking forward to the meetup and BBQ at the gardens and hope we get a good turn out!

So what are your personal health and wellness goals for the future?

Monika: Once I had cut out sugar, I moved on to cut out out processed foods and grains and in that process discovered that there was a name for what I was doing and it was called Paleo/primal/real food. I prefer the term real food, and love that the food I grow is as real as it can be.

I lost 14kg in the process of cutting out sugar/grains but did not cut out fats at all (don’t get me started about the misinformation that abounds on good fats)
I plan on continuing what I am doing, no sugar, no processed grains and grass fed meats. I am not 100% a follower of any approach in particular, I have created what is right for me. I continue to enjoy sharing what I learn via the garden and my own facebook arenas.

I will grow my own food
I will eat health giving foods
I will grow and produce what I can.
I will continue to learn.

Aimee: What advice would you give to people going through a similar situation to you?

Monika: To take control of your own health, if you don’t advocate for yourself, no one will.
Always continue to learn, we never know everything.

Where possible GROW YOUR OWN FOOD. Anyone can do it whether you have a polystyrene box on the verandah, or a Community Garden or a massive veggie garden, anyone can do it 

Aimee: I always like to ask... what is your favourite quote or affirmation and why?

Monika:  "Live your life fully" and “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”

Aimee: How can people find out more about you and/or the gardens?

Monika: Our Facebook page is the most current way of knowing whats happening 

We have a website or you can email us at gardens@buddinacommunitygarden.com

Come along to a workshop or join the garden as a member ($20 per year) or lease a garden bed ($40 for 6 months)

Aimee: What is your favourite healthy meal to make for the family? 

Monika: I make a terrific thai chicken salad and use fresh ingredients from the garden. Delicious, nutritious and easy!

Aimee: Sounds yum! 
What are your favourite books, DVD’s, websites etc relating to health and wellness? 
And who inspires you?

Monika: I am inspired by many people now. I follow The Micro Gardener and Soil to Supper which both have excellent info on how to grow food at home.

Primal Influence has terrific information and guidance on eating and living naturally.

Pete Evans is doing excellent things awith bringing Primal health and nutrition to mainstream consciousness.

I could go on…. But they are an awesome foursome to start with :)

Aimee: Thanks Monika! It was great to hear your story, your involvement with the garden and what inspires you. Thanks for chatting!


That was my convo with the lovely Monika! Isn't she great!

If you'd like to come along to the meetup this weekend at Buddina Community Garden please check out the event details here and we'll see you on Saturday!

Thanks :)

5 things I'm grateful for:
1. Seeing a whale and dolphins at Noosa last week
2. Picking sweet raspberries every day
3. The fun farm tour meetup at Eumundi Beef last Saturday
4. Having a natural home and not using any chemicals or toxins
5. Blogging!

5 May 2014

Meet a Meetup Group Member: Cheryl

The Sunshine Coast Paleo/Primal/Real Food Meetup Group is a joy to hose and it's so rewarding for both Clint and I.

Not only do we get a chance to share our knowledge and experiences with others but we also get to learn stacks of valuable and interesting information from our members.

From swapping yummy recipes to getting together for meetups... the group has so many facets and so many amazing members.

We've recently gotten to know member Cheryl and are actually going to her house for our next meetup. Cheryl lives in Buderim and has kindly offered to host us for a Dinner and Chat Meetup where she'll have a fire pit for us to sit around, eat yummy food, and chat!

It's something a bit different to the usual picnic-style meetups and a good chance to get to know some members of the group who don't often go to those outdoor gatherings.

We thought this'd be a perfect time to blog about Cheryl, as she's got an interesting and unique story to tell with her journey to good health and how paleo fits into that.

So... let me introduce to you one of our amazing meetup group members... Cheryl!!

Us: Tell us a bit about yourself and your health journey
Cheryl: Last year as part of a program to lose the 10kg I had put on, I began the paleo journey..
And kept going from there. The weight had crept up after I had a back injury stopped
me doing sport and lots of active pursuits. After a few months on the paleo
I noticed that the lower back pain was improving, so altogether I will never go back to the old ways.

Us: How long have you been interested in the paleo lifestyle and what got you into it in the first place?
Cheryl: I always had an interest in organic food and healthy eating, though now these options don’t always align with the paleo selection of food. 

I was finding that the yummy things I craved like cakes, muffins etc were all giving me cramps, so I decided to cut them out of my diet altogether … it made such a difference.

Us: Do you have a lot of support from family and friends along your health journey?
Cheryl: No, this seems so far to be a solo effort, very few people I know have even heard of the term 'Paleo' … so I have been telling people that I am eating much better without dairy, grains etc and that I'm feeling much happier.

Us: What do you enjoy about the paleo lifestyle and what is one of your favourite recipes to make at home?
Cheryl: I haven’t fully engulfed the lifestyle (active part), I seem to just do lots of walking.
I don’t bake/cook heaps, but really enjoy stir-fries which are the one-pan-wonders I do each night … lean protein and seasonal veges .. though I am LOVING the single spices and combinations that are dried .. they really give a zing to an ordinary meal flavour.

Us: What are your personal health and wellness goals for the future?
Cheryl: Keeping active each day, so continuing to walk and start to add some other activities in. I am still to get a slow cooker which will be a real change from the stir-fry meals. 
I have been adding gelatin to a lot of meals, so I plan to continue this new regime.

Us: What advice would you give to people going through a similar situation to you?
Cheryl: Lots of reading, asking questions, and checking out the internet for new ideas for cooking. And meeting the group has been fantastic, to share ideas.

Us: What is your favourite quote or affirmation and why?
Cheryl: “Life is like riding a bicycle.. to keep your balance you must keep moving forward” ~Albert Einstein

We all go through down patches in life and it is easy to get stuck there .. so my aim is to follow this quote, with all facets of life.

Us: You’re hosting us for one of our May meetups, why have you offered your home to us and what are you looking forward to from the event?
Cheryl: I have an art studio here with enough tables and chairs which prompted me to be part of the invite. There is a vintage wheel barrow which I plan to make into a fire pit, so that will provide

Us: What are your favourite books, DVD’s, websites etc relating to health and wellness? And who inspires you?
Cheryl: I am always Googling recipes .. the website that comes up the most for my research is Paleo Mom and The Merrymaker Sisters.

Us: Please feel free to add any extra information or comments
Cheryl: When in Brisbane I make a habit to getting to the Paleo Café in North Lakes (just new) or Paddington, and Primal Pantry in Tenerife for awesome food. Ground Café has a wonderful selection which suits the paleo as well.

For all the details on the Dinner and Chat Meetup at Cheryl's house on Sat 10 May (this weekend!) please click here

Hope to see you there!

Thanks for your time Cheryl and for sharing your journey with us!


5 things I'm grateful for today are:
1. Our completely private balcony where I lie and get loads of sunshine on my skin
2. Sunny Autumn days
3. My birthday tomorrow!
4. Lovely and kind meetup group members
5. Slow cooker meals

18 April 2014

A cracking recipe for crackers and dip!

A 'cracking' recipe for crackers and dip! Get it?! 'Cracking' and 'crackers'?! hehe

When I want a healthy cracker for social occasions I usually make a raw chia cracker in the dehydrator. But the whole chia seeds can be a little tricky on digestion so I don't have them very often.

Plus they're very 'seedy' and not quite the same as a regular cracker. I want something different!

I'd made my yummy beetroot tapenade this week and definitely needed a paleo-friendly cracker to go with it. So what to do?!

I was thinking of using my chia meal flatbread/pizza base recipe and making it work for crackers. But I'm not eating coconut at the moment (2 weeks off of it to see if it gives me any skin problems) and this recipe calls for coconut oil and coconut flour.

So I thought, maybe I could remove the coconut and just make a thinner version.

I did! And it worked!

Okay so the crackers don't look all that pretty but they taste good so that's the main thing!

This is just the most basic of recipes. It's up to you to add in flavours you'd like. You might want a hot and spicy cracker, so add spices, pepper etc. You might like a fresh herb flavour so add in your favourite herbs. For a really salty cracker which is nice with some dips, add in plenty of Himalayan pink salt to the mix. You get the idea!

I used the dehydrator to make these crackers. I'd probably prefer using the oven but ours doesn't work at the moment. If you'd like a raw cracker go for the dehydrator but I think the oven would give a more crispy result.

Chia Arrowroot Crackers

You'll need:

1 cup chia seeds ground up blender to make flour
1 cup organic pure arrowroot powder 
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil (or butter/ghee if using oven)
1/2 tsp baking powder - rice and gluten-free
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups water 

To do:

1. Add all dry ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine well (this is where you'll add herbs, spices etc)
2. Stir in the apple cider vinegar
3. Slowly mix in the water and allow it to absorb into the mixture. You may need less or more water, you want to end up with a dough but not too watery.
4. Mix really well to ensure there are no dry lumps throughout. This is a thick dough so it takes a bit of work. The dough should be sticky but not too wet.
5. DEHYDRATOR: Place mixture on a large sheet of baking paper, with another the same size on top. 
6. Use a rolling pin to roll out mixture so you get an evenly flat shape, about 3-4mm high. It will shrink slightly when dried so you don't want it too thin or with any gaps/holes showing
7. Once you have the desired thickness, cut into rectangles the size you'd like for crackers, keep the underneath sheet of baking paper there, discard top sheet, then place in the dehydrator and place on medium temp until the mixture is completely dry and breaks easily
Or: OVEN: follow steps 5 and 6 but place onto an oven rack/dish and bake on medium temp for a lot less time than a dehydrator! Maybe try 170-180 degrees for 40-45 mins but keep checking on it so it doesn't burn.

You can leave the mixture as one large square/rectangle to dry/bake then break apart into cracker sizes later. Up to you!

Store in an air-tight container.

My crackers were still slightly soft even though completely dried so I think baking them in the oven may create more crunch. But they're a simple and healthy cracker option, eliminating many common allergy foods, so they're a great option for parties and picnics.

#grain-free #gluten-free #dairy-free #egg-free #coconut-free #seeds #paleo #primal

Click here to see the recipe for my Beetroot Tapenade.

This time I used sheep feta, cold-pressed olive oil, apple cider vinegar and salt/pepper. Because the oven isn't working I had to fry the beetroot on the stove but baking definitely produces better flavour and is easier to do!

So that's my take on healthy and easy crackers and dip!

If you're looking for a dehydrator to have at home you can grab one here in the Primal Pantry :)

Enjoy and let me know how you go if you make this!


17 April 2014

What's happening in the garden?

The Sunshine Coast has had some epic rainfall over the last few weeks which means our garden is very happy!

I went outside today to see how my little organic container garden is going now that the temperature has started to drop heading into the cooler months of the year, and this is what I found...

Beetroot, chives and marigolds growing nicely in a styrofoam box. Wish the beets would hurry up though, they're taking forever! Lol

Radishes and baby carrots. It's my first time trying to grow baby carrots. Cross fingers and toes they grow well!

My first chilli's have just appeared!! I don't eat nightshades often but I want to dry these and hopefully sell them

Coriander seedlings, how cute are they! They're about ready to have the tops chopped off so they grow thicker

Beautiful yellow marigolds in bloom. We love adding the petals to our meals for colour and texture.

This is my baby - a native Australian raspberry which gives us gorgeous sweet berries every year for months and months. Love it!

Strawberries, radishes and marigolds growing in our hanging recycled gutter garden. Can't wait to get some beautiful sweet strawbs

Notice the mulch? That's actually just lemongrass leaves! I have lemongrass growing in a container, it grows super fast, so every week I trim the leaves and use as mulch throughout the containers. Works a treat, it's free and easy!!

What's growing well in your garden right now? 

If you'd like some new additions to your garden and live on the Sunshine Coast, feel free to pop by and grab some organically-grown seedlings I have for sale

Check out what I have available here: http://www.primalinfluence.com/#!plants/c19n5


5 things to be grateful for today...
1. My beautiful healthy organic garden 
2. Spending time outside gardening, getting sunshine, fresh air and earthing
3. Continually learning new things about gardening
4. Healthy teas made with herbs from the garden
5. Having friends over for dinner in the courtyard

What are you grateful for?

16 April 2014

Day trip to Booloumba Creek

We love spending time in the country so when we didn't have the internet working at home one day last week we thought it the perfect time to go for a day trip!

We chose Booloumba Creek out at Kenilworth because it's such a beautiful spot. There's plenty of nice spots to have a picnic and go for a swim.

It's so nice to breath in fresh air, go exploring, have a dip in our own private swimming hole and just totally relax.

Here are some photos from our country visit...

You know you're heading in the right direction when you have to cross through creeks!

Our picnic spot of choice. Not too shabby at all!

This was our view while we ate our picnic lunch. Hearing the sound of nature including the running creek was so relaxing and soothing
We always take the snorkles just in case we find a pool with clear water and fish
Bats. LOTS of bats. I've never seen so many!

The noisy colony was spread out on both sides of the creek

Go away clouds! Luckily most of the day was sunny, these clouds were just teasing us!

Is that beautiful or what?! Crystal clear water and colourful stones all around us 

Spent most of the day barefoot and got some major earthing

Kenilworth looking nice and green after some much-needed rain. The cattle looked happy

What the?!?! Oh it's just Clint diving! Phew! 

We stopped at Obi Obi Creek on the way home to grab a few more native fish for our tank. Clint uses the end of a pool scoop net he found ages ago!

So that was our nice day out in the country! 

I hope this inspires you to get out, go for a drive, explore the region and hopefully come across hidden gems and special places that make you feel alive. It's so easy to do and has so many health benefits!

Go on, get out there!


5 things I'm grateful for today are:

1. Day trips to the country!
2. A smart phone with a camera - so handy!
3. The rain the Sunshine Coast region has had lately
4. The herbal tea I'm drinking with plants from the garden
5. Pretty sunsets

10 April 2014

Our Picnic & Games Meetup was so much fun!

Last Sunday was the Picnic and Games Meetup at the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens in Tanawha - and what a sensational day it was! It was meant to finish at 12pm but quite a few of us stayed until well after 1pm because we were having such a good time!

About 7 adults and a few kids came along which was a great turn-out. There was slacklining, eating and lots of chatting! Also, Clint spent most of the time playing frisbee, hide-and-seek and running around with all the kids. I was all talked-out afterwards while he was just plain knackered!

Thanks so much to everyone who came along - the food was delicious and the conversations sensational! Clint and I learnt a lot actually. 

One thing I didn't know, which one of our members Lauren told me was that not all grass-fed meat is technically just grass-fed because if animals are being sold at saleyards or waiting in yards at abattoirs, they are most likely standing in pens with no access to fresh grass and are instead eating grains. Meaning they'd be classed as 'grain-finished'. Which for anyone wanting to avoid grains and eat just organic/grass-fed meat, this is something to be aware of.

To find out if the meat you're buying was finished on grains you need to ask the butcher, at the very least, or go direct to the source and ask the farmers about their products. Also, if you're buying from a local source than it wouldn't be likely the animals were at saleyards or waiting at an abattoirs, but it's best to ask and be 100% certain if it's something you care about.

I mentioned to a few of the gang about the natural health practitioner we are big big BIG fans of, who may be able to assist with a lot of the health concerns talked about on the day. So for anyone who didn't get Gavin Heward's business card from me, please check out his website and feel free to give him a buz so he can explain his unique and thorough approach.

He's done amazing things for us and my mum so if we can connect others to him so they can benefit too, then YAY!!


Okay let's get to the photos from the meetup! Here they are...

Clint does a demo on how to slackline

Chris has a go next

Ross had been dying to have a proper go and here he is balancing nicely!

Absolutely deeee-lish choc brownies thanks to Lauren

Choc chip cookies made by Ross - non-paleo choc chips but the biccies were paleo-friendly!

The kids enjoy a game of tiggie. No wait, that's Clint and a couple of kids!

Avocado dip and veggie sticks is always a winning picnic food - yum!

Chris and Wendy brought date and pumpkin loaf which was amaaazing and didn't even include nuts!

Aimee's failsafe choc pudding gelatin lollies - looking slightly squished after the hot sun melted them and they then re-lollied in Ross's cooler bag!!!

Chris and Wendy enjoying a chat with other really nice paleo locals

Group shot!

Group shot with Cheryl taking the photo so Wendy can be included!

a simply stunning Autumn day for a picnic at the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens!
 What a terrific day!

Thanks again to everyone who came along, we hope you can make it to the next event :)

-Clint & Aimee